Water Technology / Treatment

  • Large amounts of antibacterial agent used in soaps found in freshwater lakes

    When people wash their hands with antibacterial soap, most do not think about where the chemicals contained in that soap end up. A new study determined that the common antibacterial agent, called triclosan, used in soaps and many other products, is found in increasing amounts in several Minnesota freshwater lakes.

  • Global demand for food and energy is growing, and so does land and water “grabbing”

    As world food and energy demands grow, nations and some corporations increasingly are looking to acquire quality agricultural land for food production. Some nations are gaining land by buying up property — and accompanying water resources — in other, generally less wealthy countries.

  • Students develop low-cost water filtering system for African nation

    Every year, 3.4 million people die from lack of access to fresh water globally; in East Africa, daily routines include women venturing miles to secure fresh water and bearing the heavy weight of water containers to secure less-than-desirable water; in an effort to bring fresh water to rural Kenyans, Penn State’s School of International Affairs (SIA) students have developed a ceramic water filtration system for parts of the sub Saharan African nation

  • Drop in Colorado River flow to cause water shortage across U.S. Southwest

    Some forty million people depend on the Colorado River Basin for water, but warmer weather from rising greenhouse gas levels, and a growing population, may signal water shortages ahead; scientists predict a 10 percent drop in the Colorado River’s flow in the next few decades, enough to disrupt longtime water-sharing agreements between farms and cities across the American Southwest, from Denver to Los Angeles to Tucson, and through California’s Imperial Valley

  • Ninth-grader wins award for solar-powered water purification system

    Ninth-grader Deepika Kurup of Nashua High School in New Hampshire won $25,000 and named America’s Top Young Scientist for her innovative new water-purification system; her prototype, which harnesses solar energy to disinfect contaminated water, can help improve the lives of the 1.1 billion people around the world who lack access to clean drinking water

  • UV offers hope for safer drinking water

    Recent changes in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) surface water treatment rules mandate, among other things, more aggressive monitoring and control of various pathogens, notably including Cryptosporidium; this microbe, which can cause severe illness or death, is highly resistant to chlorine-based disinfection practices; as one means to reducing the threat, the EPA has called for treating water with ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which also serves as a “secondary barrier” to inactivate (prevent reproduction of) other key pathogens such as adenovirus and other viruses, as well as bacteria and parasites such as Giardia

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  • Climate change, water shortage play only secondary role in causing conflict – at least so far

    Intelligence services and militaries around the world have been talking about, and preparing for, the danger of “water wars” and about climate change as a threat to national security; the results of an EU-funded research project, however, found that such discourses oversimplify a complex reality; climate and water resource changes are important, but play only a secondary role — at least for the time being — in the causation of conflict and insecurity compared to political, economic, and social factors

  • U.S. intelligence forecast: growing interstate conflicts over food, water

    The U.S. National Intelligence Council, the research arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, yesterday released its Global Trends 2030; the report’s authors say that food, water, and energy will be more scarce; “Nearly half of the world’s population will live in areas experiencing severe water stress,” the report notes; Africa and the Middle East will be most at risk of food and water shortages, with China and India also vulnerable; one bright spot for the United States: energy independence sometime between 2020 and 2030

  • Water resources management in a changing world

    Visualize a dusty place where stream beds are sand and lakes are flats of dried mud; are we on Mars? In fact, we are on arid parts of Earth, a planet where water covers some 70 percent of the surface; how long will water be readily available to nourish life here? In the United States, more than thirty-six states face water shortages; other parts of the world are faring no better

  • World’s great rivers running on empty

    Four of the world’s great rivers are all suffering from drastically reduced flows as a direct result of water extraction, according to new research; the researchers found that in all four river basins, over a long period of time, outflows have greatly reduced as a direct result of increased water extractions, and that urgent changes in governance of water are needed to ensure the systems remain healthy and viable

  • How groundwater pumping affects streamflow

    Groundwater provides drinking water for millions of Americans and is the primary source of water to irrigate cropland in many of the nations most productive agricultural settings; although the benefits of groundwater development are many, groundwater pumping can reduce the flow of water in connected streams and rivers — a process called streamflow depletion by wells; new USGS report describes processes and misconceptions concerning the effects of groundwater pumping on streamflow

  • Snowpack, essential freshwater source for billions, threatened

    Snowpack, an essential source of drinking water and agricultural irrigation for billions of people, could shrink significantly within the next thirty years; the news is particularly troubling for snowpack-dependent California — the largest producer of agriculture products in the country and the sixth-largest agriculture exporter in the world; by filling reservoirs and watering crops when warmer, drier weather sets in, mountain snowpack has become vital to people and ecosystems in regions such as the Western United States, Alpine Europe, Central Asia, and downstream of the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau — home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population

  • Himalayan glaciers to shrink even if temperatures hold steady, risking South Asia water supply

    Come rain or shine, or even snow, some glaciers of the Himalayas will continue shrinking for many years to come; the most conservative findings of a new research on Bhutan, a region in the bull’s-eye of the monsoonal Himalayas, indicate that even if climate remained steady, almost 10 percent of Bhutan’s glaciers would vanish within the next few decades; what is more, the amount of melt water coming off these glaciers could drop by 30 percent

  • New tool for incorporating water impacts into policy decisions

    Just-released paper offers policy makers innovative framework for linking human well-being and water quality; a new tool helps in assessing and valuing the many services clean water provides — from recreation and beauty to navigation and hydropower — and incorporating them into policy decisions

  • Cleanup of most contaminated U.S. groundwater sites unlikely for many decades

    At least 126,000 sites across the United States have contaminated groundwater that requires remediation, and about 10 percent of these sites are considered “complex,” meaning restoration is unlikely to be achieved in the next 50 to 100 years due to technological limitations; the estimated cost of complete cleanup at these sites ranges from $110 billion to $127 billion, but the figures for both the number of sites and costs are likely underestimates