• The water we drink

    More than 700 million people in 43 countries are under “water stress,” according to a new World Bank report; water-related projects in developing countries now account for more than a third of the World Bank’s projects

  • The American Water Works Association advises Congress that any new chemical security legislation should reflect the need for local water experts to make key treatment decisions and protect sensitive information from non-essential personnel

  • Chemical plant security

    A 2008 analysis estimated that seven of Clorox’s bleach plants placed a total of nearly ten million people in the United States at risk from chlorine gas release; Clorox announced last year that it was phasing out processing chlorine gas into sodium hypochlorite in its plants; trouble is, Clorox consumes only about 1 percent of the chlorine gas used each year in the United States, thus, the overall impact of Clorox’s positive move on the country’s risk is minimal

  • Chemical plant security

    New study says 554 drinking water and wastewater plants in 47 states have replaced extremely hazardous substances with safer and more secure chemicals or processes; at least 2,600 additional water and wastewater facilities still use large amounts of chlorine gas

  • Researchers develop a revolutionary waste-water treatment device which uses little energy, is transportable, scalable, simple to set-up, simple to operate, comes on-line in record time, and can be monitored remotely; new system cleans influent wastewater within twenty-four hours after set-up to discharge levels that exceed the standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for municipal wastewater

  • The World Bank says global infrastructure investment needs will be $35 trillion over the next twenty years; in the United States, a leading engineers group estimates that $2.2 trillion is needed over the next five years; the group gave U.S. critical infrastructure a D grade in 2009

  • Despite $475 million restoration plan, damage continues in freshwater system

  • Infrastructure protection

    An aluminum ball slightly larger than a softball travel through hundreds of miles of water pipes and water mains; equipment inside the ball picks up the hissing sounds of any leaks, and the data are then wirelessly transmitted to a computer; after the pipe is drained, workers push the cart, which resembles a steel bike, through the pipe, and electromagnetic coils attached to a computer on the cart detect the location of the leak

  • Trend

    Concern about pharmaceuticals showing up in drinking water in trace quantities has prompted a growing public awareness of the need to dispose of unneeded pharmaceuticals properly; changing disposal methods will not solve the problem of other organic waste contaminants, because most of them get into the wastewater stream through intended uses, such as bathing and laundering, and because wastewater treatment systems generally are not able to remove them

  • Texas’s population of about 24.3 million is expected to hit about 45.5 million by 2060, and the water supply can not come close to keeping pace; if the state were to experience major drought conditions with that many more people, officials estimate almost every Texan would be without sufficient water and there would be more than $90 billion in economic losses

  • Michigan State University researchers develop robots that use advanced materials to swim like fish to probe underwater environments; robotic fish — perhaps schools of them operating autonomously for months — could give researchers far more precise data on aquatic conditions, and the quality — and security — of the water supply

  • Water wars

    The ice and snow caps of the Himalayas are depleted by global warming; as the availability of water in Himalayan-fed river systems that support 1.3 billion people drops, experts expect the border between India and Bangladesh to be the first flashpoint of an intensifying battle across south Asia

  • There are three options for meeting the food needs of Asia’s population, which will expand by one-and-a-half billion people over the next forty years: The first is to import large quantities of cereals from other regions; the second to improve and expand rainfed agriculture; and the third to focus on irrigated farmlands

  • Wars of the future

    Up to 1.2 billion people in Asia, 250 million Africans and 81 million Latin Americans will be exposed to increased water stress by 2020; over 260 river basins are shared by two or more countries; as the resource is becoming scarce, tensions among different users may intensify, both at the national and international level

  • California already has upward of 1,000 dams that provide water supply, flood control, and hydropower, but California growing water shortages; last month Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger insisted he would not sign off on any major overhaul of the water system without money for new dams and reservoirs