Water covers nearly three quarters of the Earth, yet people still die everyday from the lack of fresh water. How is this possible? Only three percent of the planet’s water is fresh water, and a small amount of that constitutes water not found in snow or ice. Depletion of this fresh water is occurring at a faster rate than replenishment, creating a fresh water crisis. Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) project that within 40 years, four billion people—nearly two thirds of the world’s population today—will face major fresh water shortages. This problem cannot be solved by any one group of people, yet at the heart of the matter lays engineering. Engineers need to optimize current technologies:
1. Desalination of ocean water
2. Diversion of water
3. Recycling of wastewater/irrigation
Also, engineers need to continue to develop new technologies. New projects on the horizon of fresh water engineering include:
1. Nano-osmosis of ocean water
2. Decentralized distillation units in rural areas
3. Strategies for reducing water use
Desalination of ocean water presents enormous challenges w...
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...Much of this explosion in population will occur in regions considered to be “third world.” Fresh water is scarce in these regions today; in 2050 the lack of fresh water in these regions could reach disastrous levels. The implications of these numbers greatly weigh on the shoulders of engineers. Lack of fresh water cannot be ignored requiring the further development of technologies and programs aimed to solving the problem. This problem has implications socially, politically, and scientifically. Engineers alone cannot be tasked with solving the problem, yet their work will greatly aid the progress towards developing a solution.
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