Every year, the world uses over 9,087 billion cubic meters of water. The highest yearly total comes from the US, with the average American family pouring out 300 gallons daily. The blue planet we live on might seem abundant in water, but less than one percent is available for human consumption.
The Need For Development
Water is more than something we drink. Fire-fighting, farming, meat processing, cleaning and sewage are only a handful of the ways we utilize water. Sewerage and water systems are responsible for delivering and treating our water. Successful water management is dependent on resources, infrastructure, technology and space. Water systems age over time. Water infrastructure requires maintenance and updating as new technologies emerge. Higher demands from increasing populations need water delivery systems that can keep up.
There are over 14,780 municipal water plants in the US. Small plants treat a few hundred gallons daily, while larger plants treat 1,440 gallons. Eighty percent of Americans rely on municipal treatment plants, but many municipal infrastructures are aging. The current demands of our water systems are a burden on old infrastructure.
When pipes carry away our wastewater to wastewater treatment plants, we might not give it a second thought. But when treatment plants suffer outages or take in more than their capabilities, contaminated waste can leak into surface water. Some infrastructure is overburdened, while some need repairs or outright replacement. When we don’t care for our water treatment systems, we don’t care for the water quality we swim in, wash with or drink.
More than ever, emerging technologies are sought after to solve the flaws in our sewerage and water systems. Nanotechnology water purification is highly efficient and cost-effective. Acoustic nanotube technology uses sound instead of pressure to push water through carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The water particles pass through, while contaminant particles are blocked. Photocatalysis, meanwhile, combines photocatalyst and ultraviolet (UV) rays to break down toxic substances. The process can easily separate water from organic waste and toxic metals.
Before any new system is introduced, however, inspection is required to see where water is being lost (the average household loses 10,000 gallons of water to leaks, for example) and where new technology must be implemented. Equipped with long insertion tubes and remote access capabilities, pipe inspection cameras can get to those hard-to-reach places. Cameras conduct visual inspections of sewer lines and covered pipes, and plumbing technicians use inspection cameras to find leaks and stoppages or locate underground lines.
The Bill and Maria Gates Foundation tasked innovators worldwide with designing more environmentally friendly toilets. Products made for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge eliminate pathogens, recover resources from human waste, and lower costs. Inventors had to keep their systems separate from communal systems. The California Institute of Technology created a toilet with an electrochemical reactor that runs on solar power.
Greywater refers to water used in domestic activities, like showering or washing dishes. Greywater systems collect, store, and then reuse greywater. This is ecologically friendly and cuts costs for water usage. You could manage your greywater manually for watering the garden, but a professionally installed system does the work for you.
With increasing pressure on existing infrastructure, innovation is required to keep up with the demands on our water system. Through technological developments and green solutions, however, the problem is beginning to be addressed.