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 Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>