Three children a minute die globally due to water related diseases. The amount of freshwater available globally is only 1%. In a growing world we need not only drinking water, but water for agriculture, sanitation and industrial uses. Water is essential for life, yet almost 800 million people lack access to clean water.
Treating water can be an expensive and energy-intensive process and in some places water is needlessly wasted due to inadequate infrastructure.
The chemical sciences will help by:
- developing new methods for water treatment
- developing new materials for applications such as purification membranes and pipework
- using analytical chemistry to create ways to rapidly test water quality
What we do
We work with our community to demonstrate the role of chemical sciences in ensuring that globally we all have sufficient water of the right standard for all of our needs. We do this through preparing reports and materials that highlight the role of chemistry in providing safe water.
We have an interest group, the Water Science Forum who focuses upon the application of chemical sciences in the management of the water cycle and the impact of these activities on the natural environment. The group organises several events open to all in the water science community.
We publish cutting-edge research on water science and technology; learn more through our journal Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology.
We have contributed to a partnership of chemical societies and funding agencies from across the world that brought together leading water researchers to discuss how the chemical sciences can contribute towards future water security. Their discussions and recommendations are captured in the white paper Water: Challenges and Solutions in a Changing World
In order to ensure that we can provide access to water for all with our limited global resources, we need to think carefully about the quality of the water we use for different purposes. Read more about the complexities of water quality in this article on the concept of ‘Water Purity’ by Kevin Prior, the Chair of our Water Science Forum.
Water quality is a topic where the challenges are constantly evolving and changing. In some parts of the world, such as Africa, water quality issues include excess salinity, metal waste and bio-contamination, whilst, emerging water quality issues in the UK include the contamination of water by pharmaceutical substances.
Chemistry can tell us whether or not water is safe to drink by developing new techniques to test water quickly. Watch Professor Dermot discuss new sensors for testing water in his lecture Water, water, everywhere: But how do we know what's in it?