RIWE RIWE Regional Institute of Water Education

In many countries located in arid and semi-arid regions, constructing dams and trying to increase the storage capacity, would no longer be appropriate remedies for the future. Many of these countries have access to unconventional sources of water such as saline water resources. Water desalination can be a proper option for water supply to municipal and industrial water consumers in these countries. 

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The purpose of this short course, which was jointly organized by RIWE, IHE-Delft (formerly known as UNESCO-IHE), UNESCO Cluster Office in Tehran, and Iran Ministry of Energy, was to provide fundamental and practical knowledge on the design, operation and maintenance of desalination plants in general and membrane based desalination processes (microfiltration, ultra filtration and reverse osmosis) in specific. Specific membrane related problems such as membrane fouling, scaling, cleaning as well as harmful algal blooms (HABs) were dealt with in detail, including pre‐and post-treatment options and the latest developments in monitoring and controlling fouling and scaling. Management of desalination facilities and desalination brine and desalination business were among the unique topics covered in this short-course, which made it different from most other short courses offered by universities and scientific societies. 33 participants from Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan attended the course and received a joint certificate signed by the representatives of IHE-Delft, Ministry of Energy, and University of Tehran . Next WATER DESALINATION course will be offered by RIWE in late September 2018. Registration will be open for the course from July 1, 2018.

For further information about the water desalination course or ordering a tailor-made course contact us through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +98 21 88222301-4. 

A 2-day visit to a desalination plant in south of Iran is also organized complemented by visiting nearby tourist attractions.

The course language is English. It is suitable for water and environmental engineers working in desalination plants or those who wish to establish a desalination facility. Some of the topics of the course are also interesting for water policy and decision makers who wish to extend their knowledge about desalination technologies and business solutions.

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If you have questions or if you are interested in a tailor made course, you can contact us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or  +98 912 1961432. For registration please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The deadline for registration is November 15, 2017. Since the number of seats available for international attendees is limited, you are advised to contact RIWE as soon as possible.


The registration fees for the course are as follows:

Excursions: 10 Million Rials for Iranians and 250 € for other nationalities

Short course fees:

  • Iranians: 20 Million Rials
  • Other nationalities: 2500 € (including accommodation in one of the guesthouses of the University of Tehran for non-Iranians)

The course fee includes all training-related costs as well as snack and beverage provided in coffee breaks and lunches during short-course days, training materials and travel during the training. There are group discounts available if you participate with three or more colleagues. You can email us (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for more information. Limited number of scholarships is available for those applying from Third Tire countries listed (except Iranian citizens) which cover course and excursion fees. You can apply for scholarship by sending your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Those who finish the course successfully will be awarded a joint certificate signed by the representatives of IHE-Delft (formerly known as UNESCO-IHE) and the University of Tehran.




Detailed Content


Water Crisis, Statistics and Regional Challenges


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·         World freshwater resources

·         Drivers and trends

·         Climate change

·         Urbanization and population increase

·         Water as a human right

·        Water and conflict


Unconventional Sources of Fresh Water


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·         Sustainable alternatives to desalination

·         Solutions for delta areas

·         Solutions for agricultural areas

·         Freshwater wetland

·         Rainwater harvesting

·        Greywater and wastewater reuse

Day 1


Dec. 11, 2017

History of Water Desalination


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·         Background

·         The first tentative steps

·         The appearance of an industry in the 1800s

·         The Early Twentieth Century – Evaporative Advancements

·         The Early Twentieth Century – Membrane Developments

·         Influence of WWII

·         1950s

·        1960s and beyond


Fundamentals of Water Desalination


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·         Why the need to desalinate?

·         How much salt must be removed?

·         Definitions

·         Unit operations

·         Classification of desalination technologies and overview of their basics


Health and Water Quality


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·         Elements in water

·         The carbonate system

·         Hardness

·         Sodium Adsorption Ratio

·         Acidity and buffering capacity

·         Corrosion

Time Table



Detailed Content


Ultra‐ and Microfiltration


Dr. Sergio Salinas

·      Basic principles. Membrane materials, pore size, flux, normalizing permeability, and fouling mechanisms– Overview ultra‐ and micro‐filtration elements and systems. 

·      Fouling in MF/UF systems, fouling control and pre‐treatment. 

·        Insights in disinfection & membrane integrity 

Days 2-5


Dec. 12-15, 2017

Reverse osmosis and nano‐filtration


Prof. Maria Kennedy

·      Basic principles. Flux, salt passage, rejection and concentration polarization. 

·      Overview of RO and NF membranes and elements. Single and multiple staging. Energy consumption. 

·      Summarizing process design of RO systems with spiral wound elements. Osmotic pressure, Net driving pressure. Permeate quality and flux. 

·      Normalizing data in RO and NF systems in practice. 

·      Fouling in RO and NF systems. Spacer and bundle fouling. Suspended and colloidal matter, biofouling, organic fouling, and scaling. 

·      Conventional pre‐treatment techniques for RO and NF. Media filtration, coagulation, sedimentation, and

·      flotation. 

·      Case studies: plants from the Middle East and other regions 

·      Post‐treatment options for RO and NF systems 

·      Recent advances in RO technology, brackish water and water reuse 

·        Manual and Computer aided design of a Sea Water and Brackish Water Reverse osmosis plant 


Particulate fouling and pre‐treatment


Dr. Sergio Salinas

·      Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

·      Fouling due to suspended and colloidal matter. Mechanisms of fouling. 

·      Parameters to predict fouling. SDI/MFI (0.45) and MFI‐UF. 

·      Value of fouling predictions with SDI/MFI (0.45) in RO/NF and UF systems. 

·      Fouling due to algae and Transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) in RO/NF and UF systems.

·      Pre‐treatment in practice for removal of suspended and colloidal matter for RO/NF. 


Bio‐fouling and pre‐treatment

·         Fouling due to organic matter. Oil compounds, anti‐scalants and coagulant aids.


Scaling and anti‐scalants


Prof. Maria Kennedy

·      Principles of scaling and prediction with computer program. 

·      Manual calculations of scaling due to silica, calcium, barium strontium sulphate and calcium fluoride. 

·      Calculation of the Stiff and Davis Index to predict scaling of calcium carbonate.

·         Scaling control, monitoring and anti‐scalants.



Detailed Content


Water Desalination Post Treatment


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·         Why is post treatment required

·         Blending

·         Direct dosage of chemicals

·         Design considerations for Ca(OH)2 + CO2 systems

·         Limestone (Calcium Carbonate) Dissolution

·        Disinfection

Day 6


Dec. 16, 2017

New Technologies


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·      Improvements to RO and new membrane materials

·      Forward Osmosis

·      Capacitive Deionization

·      Membrane Distillation

·      Microbial Cell Desalination


Energy Consumption


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·      Interrelation between water and energy

·      Energy demand for desalination

·      Energy consumption in RO desalination

·      Technological improvements to minimize losses and to increase energy recovery

Days 7-8

Dec. 17th and 18th


·      Visit to a desalination plant in south of Iran

Day 9

Dec. 19, 2017

Thermal Desalination


Dr. Bijan Rahimi

·      History of thermal desalination

·      Fundamentals of distillation process

·      Principle of thermal desalination processes

o    Single Stage Flash Process

·        Single Effect Distillation Process

·      Introduction to major thermal desalination technologies

o    Multi Stage Flash (MSF) Process

o    Multi Effect Distillation (MED) Process

o    Thermal Vapor Compression (TVC) Process

o    Mechanical Vapor Compression (MVC) Process

·         Energy consumption in thermal desalination plants


Sustainable and Renewable Energy Sources for Desalination


Dr. Bijan Rahimi

·      Renewable energy options

·      Solar energy for desalination (direct and indirect)

·      Wind energy for desalination

·      Geothermal for desalination

·      Nuclear desalination


Energy Consumption


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·      Specific energy consumption in thermal processes

·      Technological improvements to increase energy efficiency

·      Specific energy consumption in hybrid systems



Detailed Content

Day 10-11


Dec. 20-21, 2017

Membrane Chemistry


Dr. Mohammad Hossein Sarrafzadeh

·      Chemistry of feed water, supply sources and water quality (theory)

·      Chemistry of permeate water and possible post treatment process (theory)

·      Brine chemistry: from environmental challenge to opportunity by zero discharge technology (theory)

·      Membrane chemistry (theory)

·      From membrane design to fabrication (work groups)

·      Technology basics and practical fabrication of advanced membrane (practical)

·      Configurations after membrane synthesis (workshop)

Day 12-13

Dec. 22-23, 2017

Coastal Desalination Brine Disposal - Planning, Design and Implementation


Dr. Ozeair Abessi

·      Coastal desalination brine: Characteristics, standards and disposal methods

·      Marine outfall applications: capabilities and limitations

·      Physical Mixing process and Mixing Zone Analysis

·      Mixing theory and equations

·      Modeling and simulation approaches (experimental, integral and numerical methods)

·      Design Scheme and de facto standards

·      CORMIX Expert system for outfall design and discharge assessment

·      Visual plumes, USEPA approved model for outfall design


Water Desalination in Remote Areas


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·      Factors that Affect the Success of Rural Desalination Systems

·      The importance of social factors

·      Economic aspects

·      Technological factors

·      Case studies

Day 14

Dec. 24, 2017

Costs of Water Desalination


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·      Definitions and breakdown of structures

·      Desalination CAPEX

·      Desalination OPEX

·      Determining the final cost and price for desalinated water

·      Predictions about future costs


The Desalination Business


Dr. Alireza Bazargan

·      Background

·      Key markets

·      Financing and companies

·      Looking forward

·      The GWS and the Global Water Awards