Long-Term Solutions

There is no bigger driver of technology development than scarcity, and this is true for the global desalination market as well.

Expending more quickly than initially believed—capital investments are expected to total $25 billion by the end of 2010, or $56.4 billion by the end of 2015, according to a Research and Markets forecast.

At present, more than a billion people lack access to clean water and more than two billion lack access to proper sanitation. The Middle East and North Africa are the most water-scarce regions of the world.

Furthermore, according to researchers, the global water crisis is the leading cause of death and disease in the world, resulting in the death of more than 14,000 people each day, 11,000 of them children under age 5.

Although there are many regional factors that play a critical role, water scarcity is often the result of accelerating population growth, pollution and climate change.

Population growth alone is responsible for increased water demand and not just in consumption alone, which only represents a small amount of water usage. Industrial development and agriculture account for an overwhelming allocation of water resources.

As water demands continue to grow around the world, many have turned to desalination.

Although initially viewed as costly, new technology developments and cheaper alternatives are helping make desalination an affordable solution that can help meet increasing water demands.

In addition to desalination, however, we need to turn to other alternatives such as effective wastewater treatment and water reuse. Recent advances such as the development and application of membrane bioreactors for wastewater treatment are becoming an effective solution that allows wastewater to be safely discharged into the environment. It is all of these combined approaches that will help make a difference in the long run and help achieve water sustainability.

Twice a year, Water & Wastes Digest’s Membrane Technology supplement offers selected technical and special focus articles that offer insight to the rapidly expanding membrane market.

In an effort to provide you with key applications and technology developments in the membrane market, the Fall 2008 issue of Membrane Technology features various articles and case studies on pretreatment, ultrafiltration and the effective use of MBRs in wastewater treatment.

We would also like to welcome readers’ feedback. Please contact us at wwdeditor@sgcmail.com and tell us what other membrane content you would like to see within the pages of Membrane Technology.

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