PhD programme

The group of desalination performs research in the following areas:

  • Water Quality Methods: development of water quality methods to assess & monitor the fouling & scaling potential of sea, brackish, and wastewater (SDI, MFI, TEP, ATP/AOC, BRP, phosphate, etc.), pre-treatment efficiency and RO system design.
  • Modelling: development of models to predict fouling & scaling in RO systems & removal of priority substances (OMP).
  • Pre-treatment: development of new technologies to minimize the use of chemicals (coagulants, antiscalants, cleaning agents) in combination with MF & UF for direct treatment of seawater, surface water & wastewater.
  • Post-treatment: development of Environmental Impact Approaches and DSS for concentrate disposal in RO plants; minimizing the use of chemicals for re-mineralization processes.

Information about IHE Delft’s International Graduate School for Water and Development is provided in this link. Information about the PhD programme here.

Interested in doing research with our group? All our PhD vacancies are advertised at IHE Delft’s website. Vacancies are open when funding is available.
Please contact us: (s [dot] salinas [at] un-ihe [dot] org).

Master of Science on Water Supply Engineering


Master of Science (MSc, 18 months, Delft based) on Urban Water and Sanitation with specialization in Water Supply Engineering.

You will learn to deal with technical aspects of drinking water treatment and distribution in an integrated way, paying attention to the choice of technologies and tools, ranging from low-cost to advanced options.

For whom?
This specialization is designed for engineers working in water supply companies, municipal assemblies, government ministries and consulting companies dealing with water supply. It is particularly geared to the needs of mid-career engineers who are dealing with:

  • Assessment of groundwater, surface water and drinking water quality;
  • Surface water collection and storage;
  • Conventional water treatment plants for groundwater and surface water;
  • Design and operation of advanced drinking water treatment, including membrane filtration systems for desalination and water re-use applications;
  • Sludge treatment and disposal;
  • Water transport and distribution;
  • Master planning of water supply projects;
  • Urban and municipal engineering.

Learning objectives
After successfully completing the Water Supply Engineering specialization, graduates will be well equipped to understand:

  • The structure of drinking water supply systems, including water transport, treatment and distribution;
  • Water quality criteria and standards, and their relation to public health, environment and urban water cycle;
  • Physical, chemical and biological phenomena, and their mutual relationships, occurring within water supply systems;
  • Water quality concepts and their effect on treatment process selection;
  • The interaction of water quality and the materials being used;
  • Hydraulic concepts and their relationship to water transport in treatment plants, pipelines and distribution networks;
  • The importance and methods of operation and maintenance of water supply systems;
  • Options for centralised and urban systems versus decentralised and rural systems;
  • Be able to define and evaluate project alternatives on basis of chosen selection criteria;
  • Water supply engineering within a watershed context.

In addition, graduates will be able to:

  • Design and rehabilitate raw water abstraction, transport, treatment and distribution processes and systems;
  • Use statistical and modelling tools for simulation, prediction of performance and operation of water supply system components;
  • Communicate effectively in oral and written presentations to technical and non-technical audiences.

See: brochure

See more: MSc info

Short course on Desalination and Membrane Technology

This three-week course provides theoretical and practical knowledge on the design and operation of desalination systems and membrane processes (microfiltration, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis). Specific topics such as membrane fouling, scaling and cleaning are dealt with in detail, including pre-treatment options and the latest developments in monitoring and controlling fouling. Additionally, ion exchange and softening, and advanced oxidations processes are presented with applications to drinking water treatment.

Course coordinator: Dr. ir. Sergio Salinas

See more information: SC info

For whom

Professionals dealing with engineering, management and education in the fields of desalination of seawater and brackish water, water supply and urban infrastructure will benefit greatly from this short course. It is also helpful for post graduate students in civil, chemical, and environmental engineering. Participants from government organisations (such as local administrations and national agencies), non-governmental organisations and the private sector are encouraged to join. This course is ideal for practicing engineers who are working in the water supply systems.

Course content

The following unit process will be explored in detail through lectures, fieldtrips, design exercises, laboratory sessions, and workshops:

Desalination: Introduction to desalination and membrane related technologies

Microfiltration/Ultrafiltration: Basic Principles of Ultrafiltration & Microfiltration. MF and UF elements, modules and systems. Membrane Fouling of MF and UF Systems. Membrane Cleaning of MF and UF Systems. Disinfection and MF/UF systems.

Reverse osmosis: Principles of reverse osmosis and nanofiltration, Overview RO / NF membranes and elements. Process design of RO. Fouling and clogging in RO and NF systems. Particulate fouling. Pretreatment in RO systems. Biofouling. Introduction scaling & calculations. Calcium carbonate, LSI and S&DSI. Monitoring, control scaling and anti-scalants. Calculations with software. Manual Calculations for the design of a Seawater Reverse Osmosis Plant. Case studies water reuse and membrane systems.

Chemical softening: Principles of chemical softening and sludge blanket softening; design and operation of pellet-softening and membrane softening plants.

Ion exchange: Ion exchange resins (selectivity, column operation, regeneration of resins and applications).

Advanced oxidation processes: basic principles, treatment strategies for EDCs, PhAC’s, PPCPs by AOP technologies

Biostability of drinking and ultrapure water

The project aims to study the application of reverse osmosis in the production of drinking water from groundwater.

• To investigate the application of RO in the production of drinking water from groundwater.
• To assess the remineralization processes in terms of biological stability.
• To develop a method to study biological stability in low nutrient waters.

Duration: 2014-2018
Sponsor: Oasen Drinkwater
Budget: 420,000 euros
Staff: Maria Kennedy, Walter van der Meer, Sergio Salinas, Gang Liu
PhD student: Mohaned Sousi