Document Type : CASE STUDY


1 Department of Marine Biology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Given the reduced freshwater supplies across the world, seawater desalination is one of the appropriate methods available for producing freshwater. Selecting an optimal location is crucial in the installation of these plants owing to the environmental problems they cause. The present study was conducted to identify optimal locations for installing desalination Plants in the coastal areas of southern Iran (Hormozgan Province) with application of Delphi method. To implement this technique and identify, screen and prioritize effective criteria and sub-criteria, ten experts were surveyed through questionnaires and eight criteria and 18 sub-criteria were identified. All these sub-criteria were evaluated and classified in ArcGIS into five classes as input layers. The maps were then integrated based on the modulation importance coefficient and the identified priorities using a linear Delphi model and the final map was reclassified into five categories. Environmentally sensitive areas and seawater quality were respectively the criterion and sub-criterion that received the highest importance. After combining the layers and obtaining the final map, 63 locations were identified for installing desalination plants in the coastal areas on the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea in Hormozgan Province.  At the end, 27 locations were high important and had optimal environmental conditions for establishing desalination plants. Of the 27 locations, six were located in the coastal area of the Oman Sea, one in the coastal area of the Strait of Hormuz and 20 others in the coastal area of the Persian Gulf.

Graphical Abstract

Application of Delphi method in site selection of desalination plants


  • The Delphi method is applied to identify optimal locations for establishing desalination plants
  • 8 criteria and 18 sub-criteria were identified for site selection of the desalination plants
  • 63 locations were identified and 27 locations were assumed as high important.


Main Subjects

Alavipoor, F.; Karimi, S.; Balist, J.; Khakian, A., (2016). A geographic information system for gas power plant location using analytical hierarchy process and fuzzy logic. Global J. Environ. Sci. Manage., 2(2): 197-207 (11 pages).

Alshahri, F., (2016). Radioactivity of 226 Ra, 232 Th, 40 K and 137 Cs in beach sand and sediment near to desalination plant in eastern Saudi Arabia: Assessment of radiological impacts. J. King Saud. Univ. Sci. (8 pages).

Andon Petrosian, H.; Danehkar, A.; Ashrafi, S.; Feghhi , J., (2013). Application of delphi method for prioritization of mangrove afforestation site selection criteria: Case study: Grey Mangroves on North part of Persian Gulf, Iran). Environ. Dev. J., 4(7): 37-48 (12 pages), (In Persian).

Asadpour, G., (2015). Evaluating the geochemistry of Bam salt dome in Hormozgan Province, Iran. Pollution, 1(1): 95-101 (7 pages).

Basereh, N.; Mohammadizadeh, M.; Sekhavati, E. ., (2014). Prioritizing to Choose Proper Regions for Desalination plant construction in Coastal Regions Located in West of Hormozgan Province using TOPSIS method. 3rd National Conference on Health, Environment and Sustainable Development. Bandar Abbas, Iran 19–20 February (14 pages) (In Persian).

Borrowman, C., (2013).Site selection for seawater desalination treatment plant. Water Department Plant Site Selection Process Draft Technical Memorandum. Santa Cruz County, California, USA. (29 pages).

Braulik, G.T.; Ranjbar, S.; Owfi, F.; Aminrad, T.; Dakhteh, S.M.H., (2010). Marine mammal records from Iran. J. Cetac. Res. Manage., 11(1): 49-64 (15 pages).

Chaudhary, P.; Chhetri, S.K.; Joshi, K.M.; Shrestha, B.M.; Kayastha, P., (2016). Application of an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) in the GIS interface for suitable fire site selection: A case study from Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Nepal. Socioecon. Plann. Sci., 53: 60-71 (12 pages).

Cho, J.; Lee, J., (2013). Development of a new technology product evaluation model for assessing commercialization opportunities using Delphi method and fuzzy AHP approach. Expert Syst. Appl., 40(13): 5314-5330 (16 pages).

Cooley, H.; Ajami, N.; Heberger, M., (2013). Key issues in seawater desalination in California: marine impacts. Pacific Institute Oakland, CA: (32 pages).

Daliri, M.; Eighani, M.; Paighambari, S.Y.; Alizadeh, E., (2012). Some morphological characteristics of five marine fish species of Hormozgan coastal waters (Northern Persian Gulf). Caspian J. Appl. Sci. Res., 1(6): 20-26 (7 pages).

Davidson, P., (2013). The Delphi technique in doctoral research: considerations and rationale. Rev. Higher Educ.  Self-Learning, 6(22): 53-65 (13 pages).

Erftemeijer, P.L.; Shuail, D.A., (2012). Seagrass habitats in the Arabian Gulf: distribution, tolerance thresholds and threats. Aquat. Ecosyst. Health Manage., 15(sup1): 73-83 (11 pages).

Goh, P.; Ismail, A.; Hilal, N., (2016). Nano-enabled membranes technology: Sustainable and revolutionary solutions for membrane desalination? Desalination, 380: 100-104 (5 pages).

Hasanzadeh, M.; Danehkar, A.; Pak, A., (2012). Application of Delphi method for criteria selection in site survey of oil jetties in Iran. Environ. Nat. Res., 2(1): 119-128 (10 pages).

Hasanzadeh, M.; Danehkar, A.; Azizi, M., (2013). The application of analytical network process to environmental prioritizing criteria for coastal oil jetties site selection in Persian Gulf coasts of Iran. Ocean Coast Manag., 73: 136-144 (9 pages).

Kallali, H.; Anane, M.; Jellali, S.; Tarhouni, J., (2007). GIS-based multi-criteria analysis for potential wastewater aquifer recharge sites. Desalination, 215(1): 111-119 (9 pages).

Karbassi, A.R.; Pazoki, M., (2015). Environmental qualitative assessment of rivers sediments. Global    J. Environ. Sci. Manage., 1(2): 109-116 (8 pages).

Kharat, M.G.; Kamble, S.J.; Raut, R.D.; Kamble, S.S.; Dhume, S.M., (2016). Modeling landfill site selection using an integrated fuzzy MCDM approach. Model Earth Syst. Environ., 2(2): 1-16 (16 pages).

Kim, H.S.; No, H.C.; Jo, Y.; Wibisono, A.F.; Park, B.H.; Choi, J.; Lee, J.I.; Jeong, Y.H.; Cho, N.Z., (2015). Feasibility study of a dedicated nuclear desalination system: Low-pressure Inherent heat sink nuclear desalination plant (LIND). Nucl. Eng. Tech., 47(3): 293-305 (13 pages).

Kor, Y.; Kashfi, H.; Takdastan, A; Mehdinejad, M.H.; Amirkhanlo, B., (2012). Construction positioning and prioritization of the desalination complexes in Village of Qeshm Island. National Conference on sea water utilization. Kerman, Iran 3–4 January. (9 pages), (In Persian).

Koupaei, A.N.; Mostafavi, P.G.; Mehrabadi, J.F.; Fatemi, S.M.R.; Dehghani, H., (2015). Diversity of shallow water zoantharians in Hengam and Larak Islands, in the Persian Gulf. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc.  1-11 (11 pages).

Lang, T., (1995). An overview of four futures methodologies. Manoa J. Fried Half-Fried Ideas.

Lattemann, S.; Höpner, T., (2008). Environmental impact and impact assessment of seawater desalination. Desalination, 220(1): 1-15 (15 pages).

Life Red Sea Project, (2008). Environmental practices for desalination plants in the South Red Sea Region of Egypt. United States Agency for International Developmen.

Mafi-Gholami, D.; Feghhi, J.; Danehkar, A.; Yarali, N., (2015). Prioritizing stresses and disturbances affecting mangrove forests using fuzzy analytic hierarchy process. Case study: mangrove forests of Hormozgan Province, Iran. Adv. Environ. Sci., 7(3): 442-459 (18 pages).

Mafi-Gholami, D.; Feghhi, J.; Danehkar, A.; Yarali, N., (2015). Classification and prioritization of negative factors affecting on mangrove forests using Delphi method (Case study: Mangrove Forests of Hormozgan Province of Iran). Adv. Biores., 6(3): 78-92 (15 pages).

Melbourne Water and GHD (2007). Melbourne augmentation program seawater desalination. feasibility study. Melbourne Water and clients people performance.

Mezher, T.; Fath, H.; Abbas, Z.; Khaled, A., (2011). Techno-economic assessment and environmental impacts of desalination technologies. Desalination, 266(1): 263-273 (11 pages).

Mohammadi, M.; Tajik, H.; Hajeb, P., (2013). Nutritional composition of seaweeds from the northern Persian Gulf. Iran J. Fish Sci., 12(1): 232-240 (9 pages).

Molavi‐Arabshahi, M.; Arpe, K.; Leroy, S., (2016). Precipitation and temperature of the southwest Caspian Sea region during the last 55 years: Their trends and teleconnections with large‐scale atmospheric phenomena. Int. J. Climatol., 36(5): 2156-2172 (17 pages).

Mousavi, S.H.; Danehkar, A.; Shokri, M.R.; Poorbagher, H.; Azhdari, D., (2015). Site selection for artificial reefs using a new combine Multi-Criteria Decision-Making (MCDM) tools for coral reefs in the Kish Island–Persian Gulf. Ocean Coast Manag., 111: 92-102 (11 pages).

Ong, C.; Goh, P.; Lau, W.; Misdan, N.; Ismail, A., (2016). Nanomaterials for biofouling and scaling mitigation of thin film composite membrane: A review. Desalination, 393: 2-15 (14 pages).

Pilcher, N.J.; Antonopoulou, M.; Perry, L.; Abdel-Moati, M.A.; Al Abdessalaam, T.Z.; Albeldawi, M.; Al Ansi, M.; Al-Mohannadi, S.F.; Al Zahlawi, N.; Baldwin, R., (2014). Identification of important sea turtle areas for hawksbill turtles in the Arabian Region. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol., 460: 89-99 (11 pages).

Roberts, D.A.; Johnston, E.L.; Knott, N.A., (2010). Impacts of desalination plant discharges on the marine environment: A critical review of published studies. Water Res., 44(18): 5117-5128 (12 pages).

Sanver, A., May, S.C. (2010). The desalination processes site selection, layout and civil works. The Desalination Site and Civil Works. Encyclopedia of desalination and water resources, (10 pages).

Tsiourtis, N.X., (2008). Criteria and procedure for selecting a site for a desalination plant. Desalination, 221(1): 114-125 (12 pages).

Uyan, M., (2013). GIS-based solar farms site selection using analytic hierarchy process (AHP) in Karapinar region, Konya/ Turkey. Renewable Sustainable Energy Rev., 28: 11-17 (7 pages).

Waddell, D., (2005). Environmental assessment of the concept plan for Sydney’s Desalination ii: Project Sydney water.

Wang, Y.; Jung, K.-A.; Yeo, G.-T.; Chou, C.-C., (2014). Selecting a cruise port of call location using the fuzzy-AHP method: A case study in East Asia. Tourism Manage., 42: 262-270 (9 pages).

Yal, G.P.; Akgün, H., (2014). Landfill site selection utilizing TOPSIS methodology and clay liner geotechnical characterization: a case study for Ankara, Turkey. Bull. Eng. Geol. Environ., 73(2): 369-388 (20 pages).

Yavari, A.R.; Jafari, H.R.; Hashemi, S.M., (2015). Spatial–Temporal Monitoring of Ecotonal Belt Using Landscape Ecological Indices in the Central Elburz Region: Remote sensing and GIS analysis. Pollution., 1(2): 231-246 (16 pages).

Victorian Government project, (2011). Synthesis of environmental effects, Victorian desalination project environmental effects statement. volume 1. Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Letters to Editor

GJESM Journal welcomes letters to the editor for the post-publication discussions and corrections which allows debate post publication on its site, through the Letters to Editor. Letters pertaining to manuscript published in GJESM should be sent to the editorial office of GJESM within three months of either online publication or before printed publication, except for critiques of original research. Following points are to be considering before sending the letters (comments) to the editor.

[1] Letters that include statements of statistics, facts, research, or theories should include appropriate references, although more than three are discouraged.
[2] Letters that are personal attacks on an author rather than thoughtful criticism of the author’s ideas will not be considered for publication.
[3] Letters can be no more than 300 words in length.
[4] Letter writers should include a statement at the beginning of the letter stating that it is being submitted either for publication or not.
[5] Anonymous letters will not be considered.
[6] Letter writers must include their city and state of residence or work.
[7] Letters will be edited for clarity and length.