Desalination is a process that extracts mineral components from saline water. More generally, desalination refers to the removal of salts and minerals from a target substance, as in soil desalination, which is an issue for agriculture. Seawater desalination is an increasingly key solution for the scarcity of water.
Saltwater is desalinated to produce water suitable for human consumption or irrigation. One by-product of desalination is salt. Most of the modern interest in desalination is focused on cost-effective provision of fresh water for human use. Along with recycled wastewater, it is one of the few rainfall-independent water sources. Currently, approximately 1% of the world's population is dependent on desalinated water to meet daily needs, but the UN expects that 14% of the world's population will encounter water scarcity by 2025.