Environmental and economic performance assessment of desalination supply chain

Research article

Desalination, Volume 406 (Special issue: Desalination and the Environment), 16 March 2017, Pages 2-9 | Hasan Balfaqih, Malak T. Al-Nory, Zulkifli Mohd Nopiah, Nizaroyani Saibani 


The interest in desalination has been growing steadily in recent decades due to the global increased demand for fresh water. Viewing the desalination network as a supply chain permits decision makers to evaluate the performance of desalination processes end to end. However, there are few articles considered evaluating the desalination supply chain as a whole. Thus, the purpose of this study is to develop performance measurement criteria and metrics that is designed to evaluate the efficiency of desalination supply chain concerning the economic and environmental factors.

Different desalination and supply chain performance measures related to economic and environmental perspective have been reviewed. The performance measures and metrics have been further refined by a panel of experts using Delphi technique. By adopting the analytic hierarchy process technique, a weight factor has been assigned to each perspective and metric according to its significant in desalination supply chain. It is believed that both academics and practitioners would benefit from the framework developed.

Finally, it must be realized that desalination is one part of the solution. Only with a synergistic approach involving desalination, water management, consumption reduction and water reuse could efficiently solve the water demand challenge in future.

Research highlights

  • Different desalination and supply chain performance measures have been reviewed.
  • Delphi and AHP methods were used to develop the performance criteria and measures.
  • Economic criteria include cost, revenue, leverage, profitability and water loss.
  • Environmental factors are emissions, eco-toxicity potential, and employees' health.

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