Emerging Water Technologies That Will Overcome Scarcity of Clean Fresh
The humble well was one of the most transformative inventions of all time, though it is often overlooked in favour of more noticeable inventions, like the wheel, for instance. However, it was the well, not the wheel 3-10,000 years later, which enabled the expansion of inland communities across the globe, with many communities still dependent upon wells for water and, therefore, survival.
While wells haven’t been seen as technologically innovative for thousands of years, the equipment used to source water has transformed considerably, with new sources of water now discovered with significantly greater efficiency and ease. In parts of the world where water scarcity affects the daily lives of many, emerging technologies are paving the way, with the aim that access to clean, fresh water will one day be available to all. Here are several emerging technologies of note.
Membranes are used in many water filtration models to purify and filter water, but the technology is yet to prove affordable on a commercial scale. However, recent breakthroughs are changing all that, with the price of desalinated water slashed by half in recent years by the availability of affordable ceramic membranes. Says head of global development for water at BASF, Yannick Fovet, “Chemistry significantly contributes to innovative water treatment solutions, such as turning salt water into fresh water suitable for human consumption.” Could it transform water filtration and purification processes?
Nanotechnology is the branch of technology which works with individual atoms and molecules with dimensions of less than 100 nanometres. This technology is currently being used by researchers in India to develop a cost-effective water purification system that can remove bacteria, microbes and other harmful matter using nanoparticles. The aim is to develop a system that can deliver safe water to a family for just $2.50 per year. If successful, it would be a commercially-exportable model.
Irrigation systems are infinitely smarter than they once were and they’re only going to get smarter as new technologies emerge. With advances in computer algorithms and precision irrigation, irrigation systems will be better able to forecast and measure water supplies, ensuring they use water more intelligently. With more than 70% of all the world’s freshwater used by the agricultural industry, many feel that these advancements in intelligent irrigation can’t occur soon enough.
These emerging technologies are changing the way water is used. However, will they enable us to overcome water scarcity and ensure everyone has access to clean, fresh drinking water? Let’s hope so.