Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Scientist Pens Column Citing Need to Address Dwindling Resource

More research is needed to address the dangerously dwindling supply of fresh water on Earth, according to a researcher at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.

​Frederic Zenhausern, PhD, director of the Center for Applied Nanobioscience and Medicine at the college, has co-authored the lead editorial in a special issue of “Technology and Innovation – Journal of the National Academy of Inventors.” In the editorial, Zenhausern notes that more attention needs to be paid to fresh water, which makes up just a fraction of the water on Earth.

“As the global population expands, climate change, overexploitation of water resources, pollution, and economic growth are impacting the availability of water,” said Zenhausern, who is also a professor of basic medical sciences and radiation oncology at the college, and Vimal Chaitanya, co-author of the journal editorial and vice president for research, as well as professor of mechanical engineering and chemical and materials engineering at New Mexico State University. “As a result, society faces an unprecedented challenge to advance science and develop appropriate technological innovations to ensure water security.”

Fresh water — connecting and sustaining all aspects of life on Earth, including food and energy — is in great danger. Moreover, scientists are concerned that the public is not worried enough about fresh water, especially in light of growing concern over recent events, such as the prolonged California drought or the toxic mining spill in Colorado. The special issue of the Inventors journal, released this week, has a dedicated section devoted to fresh water and the challenges it faces from us and from the changing environment.

Researchers highlight:

  • The human population will reach 10 billion by the end of the century.
  • One billion people already suffer deficiencies in water access.
  • Water that could be used for drinking is contaminated with microbial toxins, viral infections and chemicals, such as pesticides and manufacturing wastes.

Given this context, the journal reports on “innovative solutions” to these problems. Zenhausern and Chaitanya assert, “There is a growing need for developing simpler and affordable methods for monitoring the quality of water sources. More importantly, these developments will require implementing regulatory standards and sharing common international practices for a more comprehensive approach to water management across geo-political and economic regions.”

They cite advances in human epidemiology, sensor technologies and nanobiotechnologies as having “opened new avenues” for transforming management of water resources.

Article by Al Bravo

Media Contact:

Marian Frank
Phone: 602-827-2022