Wastewater: An Unlikely Source of Cost-Effective Hydration

A combination of periodic droughts and polluted water sources threatens the steady supply of clean and potable water. In response, new smart technologies are emerging that can replenish stressed water supplies. For example, there is growing demand for membrane systems that can purify wastewater and make it fit for human consumption once again.

Cleaning up waste water is just one part of the solution. Preserving that supply can be aided by smart sensors that provide early warnings about leaks and water quality issues.

Another solution for wastewater: Desalination, or removing salt from seawater, can also boost water supplies in countries including Saudi Arabia, where a reverse osmosis plant has been converting one million cubic meters of sea water into drinking water every day. That takes so much energy -- the energy cost is responsible for about 50% of the produced water cost -- that the desalination plant is alongside a power plant.[^1]