An up-to-date and comprehensive list of water sustainability technologies that drive cost efficiencies, and enable a more ethical use of natural resources.
Water is future gold and war initiator. It was said by the great poet “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” -W.H. Auden.
What is water sustainability?
Water Sustainability is a fulfillment of the water need of the present generation without compromising the need of the future generation. Water is an essential part of our life from the moment we wake up even while sleep and it is estimated that on average 20-50 liter per person of water is consumed by a normal lifestyle person by keeping the world population in mind, this is a huge amount of water being consumed by the people of earth and this polluted water has a diverse effect on water bodies all over the world. To ensure water sustainability different scientists and engineers come up with water sustainability solutions keeping in mind the water sustainability issues to minimize the use of water and maximize the benefit.
Innovation and technology have a vital role to play in water scarcity, water efficiency, utility operations, monitoring, treatment, sustainable water use, and management.
Sustainable water technologies:
1. Wastewater Treatment Plants
The major problem in cities and industrial sector is handling and treating wastewater generated from their activity before releasing it into the environment safely, the engineers take this to next level and instead of treating and releasing water into the environment, they came up with the idea of treating, reusing, recycling to sustain the groundwater level, reduce the water use and make it economically viable for industries and cities.
The wastewater treatment plant involves many innovative water technologies to treat the wastewater depending upon the composition of wastewater coming from the industries and cities some common technologies include Aerobic Treatment Plants, Anaerobic Treatment Plants, Hybrid Treatment Plants, Membrane Bio Reactor, Activated Sand filters, and Carbon filters, Ultrafiltration and Reverse Osmosis. Compacted and package plants have been also introduced because of the city’s congested area and expensive property.
Moreover, the byproduct generated in wastewater processing plants can also be used for different processes e.g., sludge generated in aerobic and anaerobic plants can be used to retrieve phosphorus and nitrogen for fertilizer purposes. This sludge can be used for biogas production at facilities which can be further used for the production of green energy. This type of solution is provided by many companies around the world like Eliquo water & Energy, WEDOTANKS.COM, waterScope Inc, DeSaH, and Ecosoftt.
2. Smart Irrigation
70% of the world’s freshwater is used by the irrigation system and it is estimated that with the rapid increase in population up to 2050, the need for freshwater for irrigation system increase by 50 % and 15 % increase in withdrawal of water from fresh waterbodies.
These numbers are a serious concern for scientists and engineers and they come up with smart/intelligent irrigation concepts. Which uses the data from weather stations and soil moisture data for the sensors to control the wastewater and excessive irrigation of the landscape.
These technologies include:
Rain/freeze Sensors that prevent the irrigation system from running when it’s raining and even after raining until the irrigation is unnecessary.
Weather-based controllers actual control irrigation schedules based on local weather conditions
Sensor-based controllers rely on soil moisture sensors placed below ground in the root zones of lawns and landscapes to determine if and how long to water
Low Precipitation Rate and High-Efficiency Nozzles are great sprinkler nozzles in the market today that use lower precipitation rates to reduce run-off or offer improved water distribution uniformity.
These types of services are provided by many companies all over the world e.g., Rain Bird Corporation, Nelson Irrigation Corporation, Weathermatic, and Signature Control Systems, Inc.
3. Fog Catchers
The fog collector has the potential to minimize the stress on local freshwater reservoirs in low water availability periods by using simple and low-cost solutions. This simple and cost-effective water sustainability innovative technology involves the harvesting of water from wind-driven fog. This technology is only used in coastal and mountain areas where the chances of fog occurrences are very high to reduce the stress on the freshwater bodies of the area. The typical water production rate is around 200-1000 liters per day. Mesh nets are used in this technology to catch any freshwater that drips into collection trays after being trapped in fog. The water is then delivered to the village via a network of piping. This system is free, eco-friendly, and sustainable. Fog-capturing systems are being used to supply water to populations in places like Chile, Peru, Ghana, South Africa, and more. The largest fog catcher project is located in southern Morocco on the slopes of Mount Boutmezguida. The water that the fog gathered is used by around 1,000 people every day for everything from drinking to agriculture.
These types of services are provided by many companies all over the world e.g., Permulation, Rain bank and Devex.
4. Rain Water Harvesting
This technology involves the collection and storage of the rainwater for later use which otherwise will be runoff to drain without any prior use. Rainwater harvesting is as simple as collecting water in the water barrel or harvesting water into cisterns to supply your household to an entire village.
This technology can be divided into two technologies depending on the source of the collection i.e., In-situ and ex-situ In-situ rainwater technologies include soil management technology to increase soil infiltration and reduce runoff. While ex-situ water technologies capture the rainwater to catchment for later use.
This technology is much more suitable for the urban sector. This water-conservative technology can decrease the stress on freshwater bodies being consumed by urban populations. You want to determine how much water you can harness from this water conservative technology herein find the thumb rule
1′′ of rain x 1 sq. ft. = 0.623 gallons
In other words, one inch of rainfall over 1000 square feet yields 623 gallons of water. Water harvesting technology is being provided by some of the following companies all over the world Kingspan Group plc, Graff Group Gmbh, WISY AG, Innovative water Solutions LLC and D&D Ecotech Services.
5. Faucet Aerators/Tap Aerator
“Every drop matter “ is taken damn seriously by this technology. A faucet aerator also known as a flow regulator is a small attachment that can be fit to tap or can be fixed under existing spouts. These aerators introduced air into tap flow and divide the mainstream into tiny streams without affecting the pressure of water and most people are not able to see the difference in water coming out of the faucet Aerator because of the water pressure being maintained.
It is estimated that water coming out of a normal tap is 15 liters per minute, this water-conservative technology can reduce water consumption by controlling flow that is 6 liter per minute. This saves you up to 1,274 liters of water per month and when you save water, you will use less gas or oil to heat it and save money on these bills also.
6. Seawater Desalination
Oceans cover 71 % of the earth’s surface which is almost three-quarters of the Earth’s surface. This makeup almost 97% of water present on planet earth. Mankind also tapping this huge source of water and introduce different technologies like desalination plants which are different types depending upon the type of method being used e.g., Reverse Osmosis, Thermal Desalination, Electricity Desalination, Forward osmosis Desalination. This process involves the removal of minerals from seawater, brackish groundwater or treated wastewater. what could be more attractive than harnessing the seemingly inexhaustible source of water but there is the cost of energy as long as desalination continues to depend upon energy this technology won’t help the developing energy-deprived world.
7. Portable Filters
One Swiss business, in particular, Vestergaard Frandsen, has created a portable water filter. People can use the LifeStraw, a plastic tube propelled by gravity, as a drinking straw. Protozoa, bacteria, chemical compounds, and dissolved metals are all removed by the filtration system. Each LifeStraw can filter up to 4,000 liters of water, which is enough to supply one person with drinkable water for three years.
Additionally, the usage of single-use plastics and fuel combustion for water sanitization is no longer necessary thanks to this portable filter. To further address the lack of drinkable water in more than 64 nations, including Haiti, Rwanda, and Kenya, LifeStraw has teamed with the World Health Organization and the United Nations.
8. Solar-Powered Desalination Units
Utilizing solar energy, desalination technology transforms salt water into fresh, usable water Up to 3,500 liters of water are produced every hour using a system created by Finland business Solar Water Solutions. The method also leaves a little carbon imprint and doesn’t require batteries or fuel derived from oil. In Namibia and Kenya, Solar Water Solutions has installed solar-powered desalination machines. Local populations receive inexpensive, clean water from the desalination units. A large-scale application of the technique might also aid in addressing water scarcity.