A Dilemma of Drinkable Water

Cape Town, South Africa, is one of Africa’s most affluent cities.  Due to population growth, drought and climate change, it may also become the first major city in the world to literally run out of drinking water.

Six months ago, residents were urged to begin conserving water.  Over that time, consumption actually increased.

As a result, “Day Zero – when the taps in suburbia are switched off – has moved from the realm of possibility to probability,” says Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape province. “There is no way in which water augmentation schemes will compensate for our ongoing failure to curb demand sufficiently in the short term.”

A countdown timer predicts that Cape Town will reach Day Zero a little more than four months from now.

It gets worse.  By 2030, global demand for fresh water will exceed the world’s available supply by 40 percent.  The BBC lists 11 additional cities most in danger of running out of water:

  1. São Paulo, Brazil
  2. Bangalore, India
  3. Beijing, China
  4. Cairo, Egypt
  5. Jakarta, Indonesia
  6. Moscow, Russia
  7. Istanbul, Turkey
  8. Mexico City, Mexico
  9. London, England
  10. Tokyo, Japan
  11. Miami, FL, United States

The U.S. maintains a high quality of drinking water, but loses 6 billion gallons every day due to aging and obsolete water mains.  In a 2017 report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the country a “D” for its drinking water infrastructure.

As a leader in environmental science, Agilent is committed to ensuring the quality of our global water supply.  Our technologies and solutions are used by laboratories and communities around the world to monitor contaminants in drinking water, wastewater, surface water and ground water.  We support efforts to reclaim, recycle and re-use wastewater.

Our areas of focus include new biological techniques for water testing, water reuse, emerging contaminants and the state of the world’s water.

Today’s blog topic was suggested by Tarun Anumol, Ph.D., Agilent’s global environment market manager.


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