Water made the sustainable way

Pour a glass of fresh water from a tap. Take a good look at it. The water you hold in your hand is vital to life. Which makes one wonder just how long someone could go without it.

Survival experts say the average person can last without clean, drinkable water from 8 to 14 days, depending on conditions like weight, temperature and exertion. Some think water could be a bigger issue than oil in the 21st century.

The United Nations (UN) estimates that 2.7 billion people will face water scarcity by 2025. World population growth, changes in lifestyles and eating habits, and accelerating energy demand are some reasons for the growing scarcity.

Water scarcity has emerged as a potential global crisis with serious implications for food security, human health and social and economic development, according to experts.

World Water Week, from August 21 to 27, will focus attention on water issues under the theme “Responding to Global Changes — Water in an Urbanising World”. Just who, then, are the biggest consumers of water?


Worldometers, a website with world statistics updated in real time, shows that 2 835 085 billion litres of water was consumed this year up to July 28. Worldwide, agriculture accounts for 70% of all water consumption, compared to 20% for industry and 10% for domestic use (UN, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO]).

What then can be done? We can all begin to make more conscious decisions about water — how much we use and for what purposes. We need to consider reducing waste losses in the water distribution network, in industry and in our homes.
We also need to make water treatment plants more efficient and increase reliable sources of water such as desalination plants.

ABB, a leader in power and automation technologies, supplies its technologies to waste water treatment and re-use plants, industrial treatment and re-use plants, distribution networks, pumping stations, irrigation networks, desalination plants and municipal treatment plants. Water operations use large amounts of electricity to pump, transport and clean water.

ABB’s water distribution systems help with water pressure, energy and leakage management. About 70% of total lifetime costs in a water plants are energy costs. ABB has developed membrane systems for use in desalination, water treatment and waste water treatment plants.

ABB’s special Optimax® Membrane performance monitoring systems monitor and optimise water plant operations, which means greater energy efficiency, reduced leaks and lower costs. Technology and its use to mitigate the effects of climate change is an important issue for the COP 17 climate change negotiations in Durban later this year.

ABB is hosting a National Business Initiative (NBI)-initiated seminar on 12 August to discuss Technology and Intellectual Property. The discussion willbe held at ABB’s energy-efficient green building at Longmeadow, Johannesburg. To find out more, contact [email protected]

This article originally appeared in the Mail & Guardian newspaper as an advertorial

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