• New catalyst for cleanup of nitrites

    Nitrites and their more abundant cousins, nitrates, are inorganic compounds that are often found in both groundwater and surface water — a big problem, particularly for agricultural communities. The compounds are a health hazard, and the EPA places strict limits on the amount of nitrates and nitrites in drinking water. While it is possible to remove nitrates and nitrites from water with filters and resins, the process can be prohibitively expensive. Chemical engineers at Rice University have found a new catalyst that can rapidly break down nitrites.

  • Water shortage hobbles expansion of shale gas drilling

    Many point to the large reserves of shale gas as promising U.S. energy independence in the near future. Extracting shale gas, however, requires huge amounts of water, and growing water shortages have already led to conflicts over water use between shale gas developers and farmers. Such conflicts are only going to intensify.

  • Quick ID for water pathogens

    By Anthony King

    New research purports to help people stay healthy by developing a real-time water bug testing that could precisely identify the culprits responsible for waterborne disease.

  • More than 500 million people could face increasing water scarcity

    Both freshwater availability for many millions of people and the stability of ecosystems such as the Siberian tundra or Indian grasslands are put at risk by climate change. Even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, 500 million people could be subject to increased water scarcity.

  • Reducing urban water leakage

    No resource is more fundamental to life and human society than water. Yet, globally, 25 to 30 percent of drinking water is lost every year due to leakages in urban water distribution systems. An EU-funded project is proposing an innovative solution for the automatic detection, sealing, and curing of typical network pipes, without digging up pavements and roads.

  • Bolstering water security in a crowded world

    With limited water and the increasing number of people depending on it – there will be more than nine billion people on the planet by 2050 — water security is tenuous. Integrated water management plans using “blue,” “green,” and “gray” water, however, can increase water security by allowing agriculture to rise to the challenge of feeding a growing world population while leaving enough water for other uses.

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  • Making clean drinking water universally available “achievable”

    More than 780 million people around the world still do not have safe and reliable drinking water. The problem of providing clean water is most acute in developing countries, particularly in Africa, where creaking infrastructures struggle to keep pace with fast-growing urban populations; in rural areas, millions of water pumps stand unused waiting to be repaired.

  • “In 30 years Iran will be a ghost town” if the country’s water situation does not improve

    Issa Kalantari, a former agriculture minister during the presidency of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani and currently and advisor to President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, says Iran’s water crisis was especially grave. “Our main problem that threatens us, that is more dangerous than Israel, America or political fighting, is the issue of living in Iran. It is that the Iranian plateau is becoming uninhabitable”; “If this situation is not reformed, in 30 years Iran will be a ghost town.”

  • Missed opportunities to save water, energy

    Water and wastewater managers are missing substantial opportunities to save energy and money, according to a new report.The report also identifies significant gaps in knowledge about the amount of water used to extract energy resources such as natural gas, oil, and coal, and to generate electricity.

  • Demonstrating bioenergy technology

    Researchers plan to demonstrate an innovative bioenergy technology that converts wastewater treatment plant byproducts into hydrogen gas to produce electricity. The demonstration project will start in mid-October, and in about a year the wastewater treatment plant will be processing one ton per day of wet biosolids and will be producing up to thirty kilowatts of electricity. The electricity, in turn, will be used to power select functions at the plant.

  • Today’s worst watershed stresses in U.S. may become tomorrow’s new normal

    Nearly one in ten U.S. watersheds is “stressed,” with demand for water exceeding natural supply, according to a new analysis of surface water in the United States. What is more, the lowest water flow seasons of recent years — times of great stress on rivers, streams, and sectors that use their waters — are likely to become typical as climates continue to warm.

  • U.S. makes progress toward a National Water Census

    Growing populations, increased energy development, and the uncertain effects of a changing climate magnify the need for an improved understanding of water use and water availability. No comprehensive and current national assessment of water resources exists, however. A USGS report released in April, Progress Toward Establishing a National Assessment of Water Availability and Use, fulfilled a requirement under the 2009 SECURE Water Act for the Secretary of the Interior to report to Congress on progress made in implementing the national water availability and use assessment program, also referred to as a National Water Census.

  • Sewage treatment removes widely used home and garden insecticides from wastewater

    Even though sewage treatment plants are not designed to remove tiny amounts of pesticides, they do an excellent job of dealing with the most widely used family of home and garden insecticides, scientists reported. The use of pyrethrins, derived from chrysanthemum flowers, and the related synthetic pyrethroids, has been on the increase during the last decade. Researchers found that advanced sewage treatment reduced the levels of pyrethroids by more than 97 percent.

  • Using desalination to secure water in the desert

    Researchers are working on an innovative project to secure water supplies in desert communities which suffer from having an acute shortage of fresh water, but abundant hypersaline groundwater. Hypersaline water is even saltier than seawater.

  • Old concrete helps keep water clean

    Lakes and streams are often receiving so much phosphorous that it could pose a threat to the local aquatic environment. Now, researchers show that there is an easy and inexpensive way to prevent phosphorus from being discharged to aquatic environments. The solution is crushed concrete from demolition sites.