Water sustainability: a looming global challenge

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The future of water is anything but clear. We face a future world fraught with water challenges – too much, too little, too contaminated or inaccessible to meet our needs.

We live in a rapidly changing world in which many of our expectations about natural resources may no longer be met. The seeming abundance of safe, low-cost water may falsely lead us to assume perpetual easy access to all the low-cost, high-quality water we want, when we want it.

The water industry today must examine these assumptions. Although water covers 70 percent of our planet’s surface, less than one-half percent is freshwater available for our use. Most of our planet’s water is in oceans and too salty for many uses. Much of the remainder is locked in frozen glaciers, is remote from population centers or circulating in our atmosphere. So this seemingly abundant resource is actually quite constrained.

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