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UNESCO Publishing issues first ever manual on desalination and harmful algal blooms

12 October 2017

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission will launch the first ever guidebook on the growing problem harmful algal blooms pose to seawater desalination plants on 16 October.  The launch will take place at the International Desalination Association World Congress in São Paulo Brazil.


Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Desalination: A Guide to Impacts, Monitoring, and Management is published to help the desalination industry tackle an issue that represents a potential threat both to human health and to the distribution of desalinated water on which an increasing number of arid countries rely for their fresh water needs.

In eleven chapters, the manual covers multiple topics including twelve cases studies that contains practical information for desalination plant designers and operators.  Other chapters address fundamental features of algal blooms, species identification, HAB ecology, toxins, biomass, and extracellular products. It also discusses ways to maintain plant operations when challenged by an increase in suspended solids and organic loads associated with HABs.

A chapter in the manual furthermore describes risk assessment frameworks and approaches to secure safe drinking water in the face of a toxic marine HAB, along with an HAB Management Response Plan.

The 517-page manual is a groundbreaking achievement built on the cooperation of 63 HAB and desalination industry specialists from multiple disciplines, some of which had rarely interacted in the past.  The publication was sponsored by the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). It was edited by Don Anderson, Siobhan Boerlage and Mike Dixon.

Copies of the manual can be ordered online at

Media Contact: Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Press Service, +33(0)145681764

Source : UNESCO