Countering an approaching water crisis

Mar 21, 2008

As growing demand for clean water stretches even the resources of the world's largest industrialized nations, scientists and engineers are turning to new technology and novel ideas to find solutions.

Mark Shannon of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign joined a slate of world leaders in water resource research to address this crisis in a review paper in the March 20, 2008, issue of Nature.

"As dire as the growing problems are with a lack of enough clean water in the world, I have a great deal of hope that many of these problems can be solved by increasing research into the science and technology of water purification," said Shannon, who also serves as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center of Advanced Materials for the Purification of Water with Systems (WaterCAMPWS).

With an emphasis on environmentally friendly tools for killing microbes, membrane bioreactors, nanoscale filtration, and a host of other advanced technologies, the review paper addresses how these systems can be used for disinfection, decontamination, reuse and reclamation, and desalination of water supplies across the globe.

"Clearly, a coordinated, multi-faceted approach is needed to deal with complex water issues," said Geoffrey Prentice, the NSF program director supporting the WaterCAMPWS center and currently on detail to the U.S. Mission to UNESCO in Paris.

"Ours is one of several agencies working to address the water crisis before it grows worse. Working with the U.S. Mission to UNESCO, we are highlighting the international dimensions of inadequate water supplies, which lead to millions of deaths each year, primarily in the developing world," Prentice added.

One example is a June 27 international water forum at the Department of State at which NSF, UNESCO and a number of agencies and international organizations will be joining Shannon and other technical experts to confront some of the most pressing global water needs.

Shannon will lead the Congress for Water Purification Science and Technologies in the 21st Century in New Orleans on April 6-10, 2008, an event that coincides with an NSF public webcast on April 10 called Water in 2025, co-hosted by Popular Mechanics. Part of the larger Bridges to the Future forum (www.nsf.gov/bridges), the event is an opportunity for the public to call-in and ask questions of some of the top water researchers in the United States.

Source: National Science Foundation

Explore further: Coral reefs' physical conditions set biological rules of nature

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pebble smartwatch nears Kickstarter record

1 hour ago

The latest version of the Pebble smartwatch neared a record funding amount on Kickstarter on Friday amid growing interest in wearable tech and ahead of the highly anticipated Apple Watch launch.

A molecular compass for bird navigation

2 hours ago

Each year, the Arctic Tern travels over 40,000 miles, migrating nearly from pole to pole and back again. Other birds make similar (though shorter) journeys in search of warmer climes. How do these birds manage ...

Recommended for you

Coral reefs' physical conditions set biological rules of nature

6 minutes ago

Much ecological literature focuses on the effects that human actions have on species, habitats or ecosystems. Unfortunately, human effects on the natural world are often negative. Whether it's deforestation, carbon emissions, plastic pollution or industrialized fishing to na ...

Characterizing permafrost microbes in a changing climate

18 hours ago

In the effort to curb climate change by reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, thawing permafrost poses a critical challenge. These reservoirs of frozen organic matter embedded in Arctic soils are ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

manifespo
not rated yet Mar 21, 2008
Atmospheric condensers and desalinization plants fueled by renewable clean energy will make this water crisis a thing of the past.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.