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Solar Desalination for Drinking Water

In an emergency, solar desalination is an effective way to obtain drinking water from salt water.

Solar Desalination Process:

1. Collect salt water in a bowl or container. 

  • Make sure you don’t fill it up all the way.
  • You will need some space at the top of the bowl so that the salt water doesn’t splash into your fresh water receptacle.
  • Make sure your bowl or container is watertight. If it is leaking, your salt water will drain away before it can form steam to condense as fresh water.
  • Make sure you have plenty of sunlight as this method takes several hours.


2. Place a cup or smaller container in the center. 

  • Do this slowly, If you do this quickly, you might get some salt water splash into your cup. This will contaminate your fresh water as you collect it.
  • Make sure the lip of the glass remains above water.
  • You might need to weight it down with a rock to prevent it from sliding around.


3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. 

  • Make sure the wrap isn’t too loose or too tight. 
  • Be sure that the plastic wrap has a tight seal on the rim of the salt water bowl.
  • If there are any leaks in the plastic wrap, steam or fresh water vapor might escape.
  • Use a sturdy brand of plastic wrap so it doesn’t tear.


4. Place a rock or weight in the center of the plastic wrap. 

  • Do this just above the cup or container in the centre of the bowl. 
  • This will cause the plastic wrap to dip in the centre, allowing fresh water to drip into your cup.
  • Make sure your rock or weight isn’t too heavy or it will tear the plastic wrap.
  • Make sure the cup is in the centre of the bowl before continuing.


5. Place the salt water bowl in directly sunlight. 

  • This will heat the water and cause condensation to form on the plastic wrap.
  • As condensation forms, fresh water droplets will drip from the plastic wrap into the cup.
  • This will allow you to slowly collect fresh water.
  • This method takes several hours so be patient.


After you have enough fresh water in your cup, you can drink it. It is safe and completely desalinated. Solar desalination is an effective way to obtain drinking water from salt water.


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