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Natural salination and desalination of water

About the blog

Madhukar Swayambhu
Madhukar Swayambhu is a Water Hero of India, a TEDx speaker, an innovator, an ecologist, environmentalist associated with environmental restoration.
  • Natural salination and desalination of water

We all know that 72% of the planet is covered with Water, still only 3% of this Water volume is sweet drinkable Water, rest all is saline or marine Water. Let’s understand how does this water get saline and how does it get desalinated.

Nature has three parallel cyclic process going on for everything that we see around, that’s creation, rearing and consumption, its true for all natural processes including life and death, then be it for single celled organisms or single atom of an element or complex organism like human being or complex molecules like benzene.

Therefore salts are no exceptions.


During the beginning of the planet, all 108 elements were produced by nature through the metabolic activities of microbes which lived in Water, as that was the origin of life on the planet. These microbes were the most robust organisms that existed then and even now, as they could live in the most hostile environment filled with poisonous gases, which were fixed by them. They didn’t just survived through that unsympathetic milieu, but also fixed the toxic venomous elements into earth crust, water and air to make the planet livable for all other life forms.

But all these fixed 108 elements also have their own cycle of beginning, nurturing and termination that is going on since the beginning of time. Like we have Water cycle, there exists a mineral cycle as well. And Water plays and important role in almost all these cycles.


Minerals are broken away from the rocks by the rivers due to force of Water and carried forward along with the flow of the river, to be taken to different part of the land mass and eventually to the sea, making the sea saline.

The same saline Water is taken back to the land mass through the underground river streams wherein these minerals are added back to the soil surface and the rocks through the microbial metabolic activities and enrich the rocks again.


This underground stream finally reaches the same point from where the surface river originates, but by this time, all the minerals are fixed again and the Water is sweet again to come out of the crust as sweet Water of the river.

Water’s role

Water is the media in which the complete life cycle of the minerals is started, nurtured and completed. The beauty of the Water ecology is the connectivity. It is the Water that binds all the life processes around the planet, be it in Soil, Water itself or Air. Water happens to be the link. To understand it more, we need to understand the complete Water linkage network.

For any surface Waterbody, there’s a consistent link and exchange happening between Soil, Water and Air. Bottom of the Waterbody is earth, through which soil capillaries are established linking the surface Water to the underground aquifer and establish the water & mineral exchange through layers of Soil. Water is pulled up when the evaporation rate is too high due to extreme summer and same channel is used for pushing the Water down during extreme rains due to monsoon.

Then there’s a consistent exchange between Air and Water too. The Water Surface attracts all the particulate matter in Air and when photosynthesis happens in Water oxygen is emitted in Air from the Waterbody making the Air fresher to breathe for all animals.

The Aqua-microbial life

Water is the host for varieties of life, from single celled organisms to multi-celled planktons to the complex organisms like fishes, shrimps, prawns, turtles, snakes, crabs and crocodiles. There exists a food chain. Smaller organism is the food for the bigger ones and the excreta of the biggest ones is neutralized by the smallest ones (single-celled), thus the life goes on and on.

It is the Water microbiota that’s of our concern, since it is capable of both – salination as well as desalination of Water. And it’s the natural intelligence of forces of nature to harness and nurture a particular type of biome at the microbial level depending upon the abundance of a substance and the need for neutralization. Through the biodiversity ranges in billions of species at microbial level, but for the purpose of this study and concept, we’ll explore some specific families, listed below –

  1. Anabaena Torulosa – A brackish-water, nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium exhibited high rates of nitrogen fixation and substantially enriched the nitrogen status of saline soils. Most (>90%) of the cell-bound Na+ remained extracellularly trapped in the mucopolysaccharide sheath of A. torulosa – Apte S K and Thomas J 1984 (
  2. Oscillatoria Salina – found in fresh water ponds. Oscillatoria uses photosynthesis to survive and reproduce and neutralize excess of salts in Water.
  3. Freshwater Euryhaline Synechocystis – a freshwater cyanobacterium that is able to grow under high salt (NaCl) conditions and a near-costal area in biofilms and in their metabolism they are known to consume the Na+ ions.

There are many such species and there are many research papers available on the internet that provide enough information to substantiate the above mentioned facts about these single-celled organisms.

The Natural Ecology

In August 2009, Discovery News published an article upon desalination of water by modifying the electricity generated by the bacteria. This however was a laboratory experiment.

Whenever a lab experiment is done on understanding the life and the metabolism of a microbe, the behavior observed in not natural and normal, but stressed. In natural ecology, it is at its natural best and therefore way more efficient.

In the nature, when aqueous sodium chloride (marine water) is added with ORP negative Water, the bond between Na + and Cl – gets broken.

Na+ + e− → Na

Cl− → Cl2 + e−

Chloride ions are oxidized to chlorine gas and evaporates, while the sodium atoms are consumed by the microbes naturally as they survive on the same.

Cownomics© Technology

The Cownomics© mother concoction or the concentrate is simply diluted in fresh water in a ration of minimum 1:5000 dilution and this dilution is released in the Waterbody. When this is done, basically the Waterbody on a physio-chemical level is supplied with millions of free electrons, which make the above chain reaction possible on the ecological front, in which the subsets are physics, chemistry and biology.

The free electrons make the initial separation happen, while the microbial life for sodium neutralizing single–celled organisms is given a trigger through the negative charge of the electrons (1.6 x 10-19 coulombs), and when they are back to life they can eat away the sodium atoms and the Water gets desalinated naturally, without any machines, fuels, energy, chemicals or introduction of biologically invasive species.

Established Technologies & Their Limitations

The established technologies of desalination of the marine Water have been primarily physical mechanical processes that consume a lot of energy, making it an expensive affair and therefore economically unviable.

  1. Physical Processes – The primitive crude method is distillation through evaporation, followed by condensation. Another process is electro-dialysis, reverse osmosis (RO), and mechanical vapor compression (MVC) technologies. But these are anti-ecology processes as well as high on OPEX & CAPEX, being energy hungry processes.
  2. Biological Processes – The Biological processes are often good in laboratories under controlled environment, but the moment it gets replicated in real life scenarios, the new introduced species behaves life an invasive in the ecology and the war becomes one is to all. Therefore the sustainability quotient is a big question mark, because the solution is very short-lived since the artificial setup is anti-ecology.


With a detailed study of all the available processes, naturally the most viable, sustainable, effective and result-oriented process remains, reinstating the natural ecology. That’s what we firmly believe that all the development strategies will be sustainable and viable only when they are in absolute harmony with the natural ecology and environment, not just eco-friendly.

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