On 22 March, World Water Day was observed worldwide to highlight the importance of freshwater in our lives. Clean, accessible drinking water for all is a basic human right, while maintaining an adequate water supply is essential for agricultural productivity. Yet with humanity’s growing needs, the strain on available water is going to continue to grow to crisis levels. To put this into perspective: while 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, 97% of it is saline. The 3% remaining freshwater is 90% locked in glaciers, leaving just 0.3% of the Earth’s total water to meet these growing needs.
Chemistry has a vital role to play, both in developing processes to treat water and making it potable as well as by removing contaminants from wastewater and industrial waste streams. Water treatment being highly energy intensive in turn means that solutions need to be found to make such processes more efficient, environmentally-friendly and economically accessible. The chemical sciences therefore have a manifold role to play in providing solutions to these challenges which will continue to grow over the coming years. EuCheMS has placed water as one of its core aims in its Roadmap, available here.
On 1 February 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a revised drinking water directive which aims to improve the quality of drinking water and provide greater access and information to citizens. EuCheMS had responded to the preceding consultation which can be accessed here.