According to the Research and Markets report, water shortages are actually increasing, with about one-third of the countries in the world suffering from shortages, with real scarcity existing in 20 countries.
Desalination can be useful in varying situations. In isolated arid places with no surface water it can be the lifeblood of a community or industry, while in less extreme situations desalination can be a valuable addition to regular water supply, remedying shortages and providing continuous supply.
While desalination can be an expensive and energy inefficient option, it has been taken up globally, with over 14,450 desalination plants operating in 100 countries by 2010. Now the costs of desalinating water on the large scale have declined by $0.45 (with subsidies) to $1 per m3 to produce. The report suggests that as the price of desalinating water continues to fall, it may cost no more than freshwater extraction by 2020 in some parts of the world.