London, March 23 : Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have suggested that the global water crisis can be solved by increasing research into the science and technology of water purification.
In a review paper published in the journal Nature, Mark Shannon of the University of Illinois has outlined obstacles and solutions for providing water in the 21st century.
He said that with growing demand for clean water stretching even the resources of the world's largest industrialized nations, scientists and engineers are turning to new technology and novel ideas to find solutions.
"As dire as the growing problems are with a lack of enough clean water in the world, I have a great deal of hope that many of these problems can be solved by increasing research into the science and technology of water purification," Nature quoted Shannon, who also serves as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center of Advanced Materials for the Purification of Water with Systems (WaterCAMPWS), as saying.
The review paper puts emphasis on environmentally friendly tools for killing microbes, membrane bioreactors, nanoscale filtration, and a host of other advanced technologies.
The paper addresses how these systems can be used for disinfection, decontamination, reuse and reclamation, and desalination of water supplies across the globe.
"Clearly, a coordinated, multi-faceted approach is needed to deal with complex water issues," said Geoffrey Prentice, the NSF program director supporting the WaterCAMPWS center and currently on detail to the U.S. Mission to UNESCO in Paris.
"Ours is one of several agencies working to address the water crisis before it grows worse. Working with the U.S. Mission to UNESCO, we are highlighting the international dimensions of inadequate water supplies, which lead to millions of deaths each year, primarily in the developing world," Prentice added.
Shannon will lead the Congress for Water Purification Science and Technologies in the 21st Century in New Orleans on April 6-10, 2008, an event that coincides with an NSF public webcast on April 10 called Water in 2025, co-hosted by Popular Mechanics.