International World Water Day is held annually on the 22nd of March. Its goal is to focus on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the better management of water.
But what is often overlooked, according to Klaus Reichardt, CEO, and Founder of Waterless Co, one of the largest manufacturers of waterless urinals in the U.S., is all the progress the world has made technologically when it comes to water.
“New technologies are providing more people access to potable water for drinking and sanitation,” says Reichardt. “Not only is this helping to keep people healthier, it is producing greater economic prosperity around the globe.”
As for examples of these water-related technological advances, Reichardt mentions the following:
New membrane technologies. This sewage treatment technology filters water using no chemicals. Water is forced through the membranes, which removes bacteria, viruses, and contaminants from the water. Newer systems handle more water - less expensively - than in the past.
Desalination technologies. Removing salt from seawater is advancing very quickly. Seawater can now be “reclaimed” with a single pass. While desalination systems are still costly, these costs have come down enough that they are being installed in more countries around the world.
Bioreactors. Newer bioreactors more effectively and efficiently separate sludge and solids from water. This allows more water to be treated and then used for a variety of purposes.
Waterless toilets. Waterless urinals have been available in the U.S. since 1991. Now, due to grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, more organizations and major universities are developing and introducing waterless toilets and urinal systems.
“Soft Path” technologies. These technologies focus on increasing water productivity. For instance, soft path technologies such as manually operated or diesel powered pumps are used to control more precisely where water is used. China has managed to triple its water efficiency using soft path technologies, while decreasing overall water use.
“What these technologies all share in common is efficiency,” adds Reichardt. “This year, for World Water Day, we must celebrate all the new technologies helping us use water more efficiently, ensuring we have adequate water supplies for the future.”