Sea spring cities is a concept to exploit submarine fresh water springs. Currently the water from these springs flows unused into the oceans. Initial studies have shown that on a global scale over one hundred of these sea springs have been well documented. The need for further exploration of these sustainable sources of fresh water is apparent, due to the increase in water scarcity and the high cost of desalination.
Water covers 70% of our planet, however, only 2.5% of the world’s water is fresh water, and two-thirds of that is stored in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable for use. Another 30% of all fresh water is groundwater, stored deep beneath the earth's surface in underground aquifers. That leaves only 1.3% of the total fresh water supply on earth in surface water sources such as lakes, rivers, and streams. It is this surface water humans and other species rely upon for their primary needs.
As a result, some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack sufficient access to fresh water, and a total of 2.7 billion deal with scarcity at least one month per year. This results in inadequate sanitation, stagnant growth of agriculture and increasingly stressed ecosystems. Rivers, lakes and aquifers are drying up or becoming too polluted to use. More than half the world’s wetlands have disappeared. At the current consumption rate, this situation will only get worse. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages and ecosystems around the world will suffer even more.
The sea spring cities concept, developed and patented by Boskalis and its partner KuiperCompagnons, uses a reversed polder to capture the submarine fresh water springs. By creating a dike around the mouth of the sea spring the water is collected. Eventually the fresh water displaces the salt water. After purification the captured fresh water can be used for consumption, agricultural and industrial purposes.
The method uses less energy and creates less pollution than conventional water win methods such as desalination or pumping of ground water. Together with integral aquifer management this will improve the ‘upstream’ groundwater quality. The fresh water basin that is created not only guarantees a source of water, it also creates a sustainable and improved living environment for people in semi-arid locations.