It was prophesied that the third world war would be for water. We are running against time to save humanity from imminent crisis – water crisis. All the water sources are being utilized to the maximum and, in the course of it, being polluted.
Water technology is the term that describes a process or method or a system to provide good quality of water without stressing out the living environment. It applies to purification and reuse of wastewater. Water technology provides local and integrated solutions for the supply of water. It also provides for use and reuse of freshwater.
Major components of the water technology sector are:
Water for all
Water technology is used to produce drinking and industrial water and purification of wastewater at minimal costs. We need water from the moment we open our eyes, brushing our teeth, and flushing the toilet to drinking a glass of milk before bedtime. Some of the uses of water can be seen while others have water in their production, which we cannot see but can be traced by water footprint.
Some households in the world use as much as 400 gallons per day (in The USA) while some use as meager as 5 gallons in a day (African countries). Some have to open their faucets for water while others have to trek miles to get water for everyday use.
Since the freshwater ecosystem is in a precarious state, we urgently try to achieve sustainable management of freshwater. Water, for all means, everyone should have access to clean water for drinking and sanitation. Providing water for all it would help improve the quality of life, especially for women and girls. Responsibility to get water for family invariably falls on women folk of the family. They have to trek miles often dangerous routes to bring water for everyday use.
By providing clean water to places that do not have access to safe drinking water and sanitation, we improve lives. The girls’ lives could be spent in school and productivity, helping her lead a healthy and fulfilling life. NGOs, partners, civil societies, and the government are trying to provide water to all.
More crop per drop
This scheme focuses on producing more crops without wasting water. It aims to utilize each drop of water. It focuses on providing clean water for agriculture and horticulture. Irrigational methods that do not waste water are encouraged.
Methods like drip irrigation are encouraged as they provide water to the roots of the plants, thus saving water from being run off or being lost to evaporation against irrigation by canals and wells. Only a fraction of water is utilized in these methods of irrigations.
The food industry, which is an extension of agriculture, is also required to use processes conducive to saving water. It has become essential to use water judiciously and sustainably.
Water and energy
These two are connected. All sources of energy require water for production from extraction to the point it reaches the consumer. Water is required in the extraction of raw material, in transporting it, in thermal processes, cleaning processes, and cultivation of crops and biofuels. Water is required to make water resources available to agriculture (for pumping, transportation, treatment, etc.)
An integrated system of energy and water are required for sustainable utilization of water policy.
Water and IT
Water and IT focus on expanding the efficiency of water technology to check the quality of water. It also aims to encourage water security and provide sustainable and clean water and optimal control of water chains. It also provides water technology to treat water in water treatment plants.
Water technology (treatment)
Water treatment and water treatment technology tries to improve the quality of water. It makes the water useable for a specific purpose or end-use. Treated water is used for drinking, irrigating farmland, industrial purposes. It is also used to meet the need for water for recreational purposes, maintain river flow, and return water safely to the environment.
Water technology used for water treatment
Water is formed of closely bond atoms of hydrogen and oxygen. Water in its atomic form is pure. However, water does not occur in pure form; it shares space with various soluble (water being universal solvent) and insoluble components. Water treatment removes contaminants, bacteria, and other undesirable components from the water, making it useable for domestic use and irrigation.
Water technology used for treating water may be a little different at various locations because of the technology used at the treatment plant and the type of water being treated.
Accessible water technology to treat water
Coagulation is a process in which aluminum sulfate (alum) is added to the untreated water and mixed vigorously. The mixtures cause dirt particles to bind together or coagulate. Coagulation destabilizes the dirt particles and makes it attached to other particles. These form lager flocs which can be filtered out. This process is also called flocculation.
Though alum is commonly used, other chemicals used are ferric sulfate, ferric chloride, polymers, etc. Coagulation removes dissolved substances, so less chlorine is added to disinfect the water.
Clay, silts, or suspended material present in the water is allowed to settle by gravity. These settled particles are called sludge. Longer the water is sedimented more suspended particles settle down. Some pathogens are too settle down along with sludge. This process enhances the filtration by removing suspended particles.
In this process, water is made to pass through the filter, and suspended particles collect in the filter. Filers are made of the sand gavel, and sometimes anthracite is used. Filtration increases the effectiveness of disinfectants. Layers of iron and manganese oxidation filter groundwater.
Disinfection means to deactivate or kill pathogens. Disinfection methods include thermal and chemical. Water, before being supplied for distribution for consumption, is treated with chlorine to kill disease-causing bacteria parasites and viruses.
Sludge or solids that have settled down in sedimentation and filtration are transferred and dried in areas called a dry lagoon. It is transferred into green fuel or useful products. Sludges are treated with digestion techniques to reduce the presence of organic matter and disease-causing organisms. Conventional methods are anaerobic digestion, aerobic digestion, and composting.
Fluorides are added to the water, which is to be supplied for domestic consumption. Fluoride prevents tooth decay. Florides occur naturally or are added to the water being supplied.
Lime is added to filtered water to adjust the pH level to stabilize naturally soft water and prevent corrosion.
It is ever-rising water demand for water because of urbanization coupled with climate change, which invariably affects water sources. Water technology to deal with such a situation has to be pragmatic. Water technology has to be developed with a view to sustainability.