The new water technologies

that could save the planet !

by Akram Deiminiat

Akram Deiminiat is PhD candidate at Polytechnique School of Montreal in Civil Engineering - Hydraulic.

Akram Deiminiat is PhD candidate at Polytechnique School of Montreal in Civil Engineering - Hydraulic.

One of a long list of innovations in water technology that have enabled human development to continue apace.Sophisticated pipeline networks and treatment plants today furnish us with this elixir of life and industry. As intense pressure is placed on the planet's limited water supplies, businesses are again turning to technological innovation.

New and emerging inventions should see human civilisation through the 21st century and, with any luck, the next 10,000 years.

Nanotechnology in filtration: According to the World Health Organisation, 1.6 million people die each year from diarrhoeal diseases attributable to lack of safe drinking water as well as basic sanitation. Researchers in India have come up with a solution to this perennial problem with a water purification system using nanotechnology.

The technology removes microbes, bacteria and other matter from water using composite nanoparticles, which emit silver ions that destroy contaminants. "Our work can start saving lives," says Prof Thalappil Pradeep of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. "For just $2.50 a year you can deliver microbially safe water for a family."

It is a sign that low-cost water purification may finally be round the corner — and be commercially scalable.

Smart monitoring: In developing countries alone, it is estimated that 45m cubic metres are lost every day in distribution networks. Leaks are not only costly for companies, but increase pressure on stretched water resources and raise the likelihood of pollutants infiltrating supplies.

"It does not make commercial sense to invest billions in additional reservoirs and water catchment, treatment plants [and] pumping stations, when as much as 60% of water produced is unaccounted for," says Dale Hartley, director of business development at SebaKMT, a water leak detection specialist.

New monitoring technologies help companies and authorities to ensure the integrity of their vast water supply networks. Electronic instruments, such as pressure and acoustic sensors, connected wirelessly in real time to centralised and cloud-based monitoring systems will allow companies to detect and pinpoint leaks much quicker.