Water: Our Sustainable Use and Provision of Drinking Water and Sanitation
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Water is essential for all living things. Unfortunately there are several threats to the availability of suitable supplies. These threats include increases in global population, unsustainable water use, water pollution and climate change. There are also problems with the provision of safe drinking water and the disposal of human wastewater. Although this planet has a large amount of water present much of it is salty and not directly usable. Water has been, and still is, the major vector to the spread of disease in humans. In the past large numbers of people died yearly through water borne diseases. Even today natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, lead to the spread of water born disease. Hence there is an urgent need to provide adequate supplies of clean safe drinking water. The above problems will be discussed and availability of suitable sources of water outlined. The desire of communities worldwide to improve their economic status is governed by water availability. Virtually no sustainable economy can develop without a proper supply of good safe water and provision to dispose of the wastewater. However safe drinking water and the disposal of wastewater is not free so the economics of water need to be understood. The problems vary both geographically and from large to small communities. A range of treatment processes for drinking water and wastewater treatment will be described. International standards for water will be reviewed. Finally the economics of water treatment will be dealt with. Where will the money come from? Is privatization the answer? What should we do to manage the water more sustainably?