• Water

    South Florida’s water supply is becoming increasingly endangered by saltwater that is steadily seeping in from the ocean and contaminating supplies; despite the best efforts of local communities to stop the problem, saltwater intrusion is spreading

  • Infrastructure

    Engineers have pioneered new methods for detecting leaky pipes and identifying flood risks with technologies normally used for computer game graphics and Artificial Intelligence; these techniques could help to identify water supply and flooding problems more quickly than ever before

  • Water

    Almost 100 million people in developing countries are exposed to dangerously high levels of arsenic in their drinking water, unable to afford complex purification technology; scientists developed a simple, inexpensive method for removing arsenic based on chopped up pieces of ordinary plastic beverage bottles coated with a nutrient found in many foods and dietary supplements

  • Water

    New research shows that wastewater recycling processes may generate more greenhouse gases than traditional water-treatment processes; still, there are good reasons to continue keep wastewater recycling among the water-resource tools for urban areas

  • Water

    Thermopower waves in thermoelectric materials can convert heat from solid fuels into electrical energy, in research that advances the vision of “smartdust” and other truly autonomous micro and nanomachines; “smartdust” systems are micro-electromechanical systems that are networked wirelessly for sensing and receiving data, for example testing pH of soil in large agricultural fields or quality of water reserves

  • Water

    A lot of the water we use daily goes to waste — whether it goes down drains, sewers, or toilets, much of it ends up at a wastewater treatment plant where it undergoes rigorous cleaning before it flows back to the environment; researchers are looking at processes which would turn wastewater into energy

  • Water

    Parts of the Danish capital Copenhagen were without clean drinking water Saturday after high levels of the E.coli bacteria were detected in the municipal tap water system

  • Water

    A fuel cell system that can generate electricity from organic compounds and clean up wastewater at the same time has been developed by scientists in China; the cell uses light energy to degrade organic compounds in wastewater, generating electrons that pass through to the cathode, which converts the chemical energy into electrical energy

  • Water

    A third of the world’s population — more than two billion people — lives without access to clean drinking water, and studies show that the situation will only get worse; a French innovator has an idea: towing icebergs from the Greenland and Antarctica to regions most in need of fresh water; a computer simulation shows this solution to be viable and affordable

  • Water

    A revolutionary low-cost technique that uses sunshine to provide safe drinking water; solar disinfection (SODIS) of drinking water is an effective way of preventing water-borne diseases such as cholera, dysentery or polio — especially important in developing countries, where safe drinking water is often a precious rarity

  • Water

    Over one-third of the world’s population already lives in areas struggling to keep up with the demand for fresh water. By 2025, that number will nearly double; a new study argues that seawater desalination should play an important role in helping combat worldwide fresh water shortages once conservation, reuse, and other methods have been exhausted

  • Detecting contamination

    Materials scientists and applied physicists have invented a new device that can instantly identify an unknown liquid; the 3D-nanostructured chip offers a litmus test for surface tension (and doubles as a carrier for secret messages); the researchers are currently developing more precisely calibrated chips and conducting field tests with government partners for applications in quality assurance and contaminant identification

  • Infrastructure protection

    In 1993, a cryptosporidiosis outbreak in Milwaukee contaminated the city’s water supplies, hastened the deaths of dozens of citizens, made more than 400,000 residents ill, and cost more than $96 million in medical expenses and lost productivity; Sandia’s CANARY software protects water utilities from terrorist attacks and contaminants

  • Water

    A new biological water purification facility developed by Siemens generates enough methane gas to power its own operations; it also produces much less sludge than conventional systems; the test facility is mlocated in Singapore, and the city state is building a much larger pilot facility — one that will process 300 times more effluent than its predecessor, or about as much sewage water as is produced by around 1,000 people

  • Water

    Among many potential applications, carbon nanotubes are great candidate materials for cleaning polluted water; many water pollutants have very high affinity for carbon nanotubes and pollutants could be removed from contaminated water by filters made of this nanomaterial — for example, water soluble drugs which can hardly be separated from water by activated carbon

  • In May 2011 researchers found that one in ten water samples collected in locations across Mumbai, India were unsafe to drink; in some areas 40 percent of the samples collected were contaminated; most alarming was the fact that thirty-six of the water samples tested positive for E.coli bacteria; the local water utility has refused to acknowledge the problem

  • Food security

    Knowing when to instigate water saving measures in dry times will be easier from now on, following a breakthrough in drought prediction: an Australian researcher has developed a way to predict droughts six months before they begin

  • Water

    India is building dams on three major rivers flowing from the India to Pakistan; an editorial in a leading Pakistani newspaper says that India’s goal is “[to make] Pakistan totally barren,” and that India’s actions amount to water terrorism

  • Water

    More than 80 percent of humanity currently lives in regions where water security is threatened, meaning that as the global population grows against a finite volume of freshwater, a more equal distribution of water use between countries will be needed; virtual water — that is, the amount of water it takes to produce goods or a service — has been suggested as a possible solution to this growing problem by using virtual water values to inform international trade deals; a new study suggests that it may not be as revolutionary as first thought

  • Seven Cambridge University undergraduates spent the summer of 2009 genetically engineering bacteria to secrete a variety of colored pigments, visible to the naked eye; they designed standardized sequences of DNA, known as BioBricks, and inserted them into E. coli bacteria — so the bacteria can now change its color to red, yellow, green, blue, brown, or violet; the bacteria can be programmed to do useful things, such as indicate whether drinking water is safe by turning red if they sense a toxin; other uses for the design bacterium include monitoring food additives, patenting issues, personalized medicine, terrorism, and new types of weather