Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World water decade ends – Problems of global water supply stay

17.03.2015

The World Water Day on March 22 marks the end of the UN-Decade „Water for Life” the goal of which was to improve the water supply worldwide. But access to clean water and sufficient amounts of industrial water has remained a big challenge in spite of all efforts – and this does not just apply to arid agricultural regions but also to cities. Especially in megacities with annually up to 300,000 new inhabitants the pressure on the resource is increasing. Water experts from ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research demonstrate how it is possible for cities to handle water shortage and reduce user conflicts.

Worldwide water demand is increasing fast. The consequences are well known: many groundwater reserves are already overexploited, more and more regions are suffering from water shortage and the contamination of natural water resources is causing considerable risks for health and environment. Conflicts over the limited resource are starting to emerge. In 2025, according to estimates of the UNESCO, two thirds of the world population could be affected by water shortage.


Reducing the per capita consumption in spite of a growing population

Having access to clean water is a human right according to the UN. But how can this right be sustainably put into effect considering the growing population and dwindling resources? “If we continue to handle the situation as we have up to now: increasing demand – increasing supply, then we will increase the pressure on the already strained water resources” says Stefan Liehr, head of the research unit “Water Resources and Land Use”.

The supply cannot be endlessly increased as the water reserves on planet earth are not unlimited. “Instead of tapping more and more new water resources with disastrous consequences for humans and the environment we have to develop safe and sustainable strategies that will reduce the per capita consumption.”

Water demand prognoses can determine saving potentials

In order to reduce the per capita consumption, we first have to find out where relevant saving potentials are located. “For this endeavor there already exists a powerful instrument that has hardly been used up to now”, says Liehr. “With water demand prognoses we can develop a differentiated picture of water usage and can precisely assess what kind of demand we are facing and what saving potentials we may expect.” Possible conflicts over water usage are thus also becoming apparent at an early stage.”

The prognoses are based on assumptions on plausible, social, economic, and technical developments with respect to future demand. They provide the basis for future scenarios which allow to deduct priorities for concrete measures for households, the economy and urban development.

Recommendations for efficient measures in the field of water supply

“Meanwhile we dispose of very good water saving technologies and now we know very well how to handle drinking and industrial water in an economic manner – particularly with the help of water treatment and reuse”, says water researcher Liehr. According to him, what is missing is knowledge concerning the actual water demand and water consumption in cities: How much water is required by whom and for what purpose?

For example, how high is the share of necessary drinking water for households compared to the water demand of small trade? What role is the specific structure of industrial branches playing for the overall demand? And in which areas is drinking water q
uality not required but reclaimed water can be used instead.

The same water can be used twice or three times. After having been treated it can be used in households – for example for flushing the toilets – as well as in industry. It can further be used for the irrigation of green areas or the restauration of rivers. Recommendations for such differentiated ways of usage can be worked out based on water demand prognoses.

“There is a huge potential for saving water considering the number of inhabitants in megacities”, says Liehr. But obviously water demand prognoses are only a first step. The political decision makers have to make use of the results and recommendations by developing strategies for a sustainable and safe water supply, the ISOE-researcher is pointing out.

Contact:
Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart
ISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research
Tel. +49 69 707 6919-30
schuldt-baumgart@isoe.de
http://www.isoe.de

ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research is a leading non-commercial and non-academic institute for sustainability research. For 25 years, the Institute has been developing scientific basics for future-orientated concepts for politics civil society and economy – regionally, nationally and internationally. Among its research topics are water, energy, climate protection, mobility, urban spaces, biodiversity, as well as population dynamics and supply.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.isoe.de/en/news-media/news/news-single/world-water-day-2015-world-wat...

Dr. Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>