NEW whitepaper

The challenges & sustainable opportunities in water treatment today


Setting the stage

Clean water is essential for people and planet

Today, more than 2 billion people live in water-stressed countries. This is in some regions due to climate changes and population growth. Additionally, nearly 2 billion people around the world use contaminated drinking water. We know that water is a very valuable resource, and it's more important than ever to use it wisely.

Responsible water consumption is required

Industries today make up more than 40 percent of global water consumption. That’s why water treatment is an incredibly important part of the world’s operations today. With significant industry growth expected by 2030, water treatment will become even more important over the next decade.

Every industry plays a role in clean water

About 90 percent of produced items in the world use water in their manufacturing process.  Additionally, industry production makes up about 40 percent of the world’s water use, but only 50 percent of that water is being treated. But ultimately, the water needs to be left as it started: clean and ready for reuse or release.

6 challenges facing the water treatment industry

With rising demand for clean water around the globe, water treatment professionals face challenges every day with energy efficiency, regulation compliance, water quality, new technologies and sustainable innovations.

Energy efficiency

Water treatment plants are inherently energy-intensive facilities. The water treatment process, including pumping, filtration, aeration, and disinfection, requires massive amounts of electricity to function. In fact, the water sector is one of the largest energy consumers globally, attributing a significant portion of energy-related emissions from water treatment processes. That’s why it’s important that all water treatment plant systems have optimized equipment, process design and advanced technologies to ensure they run at the maximum efficiency, especially at a time when energy prices have been known to soar.

But this does not come easy; all infrastructure and processes need to be redeveloped to align with more sustainable approaches which often require disruptions in services, and of course, a significant investment. If successful, the benefits will lead to financial savings, a reduced carbon footprint and improved resource efficiency in the water sector. 

Stricter regulations

Although a challenge across many industries, staying up to date...

Sustainable innovations

As with all industries, incorporating more sustainable solutions into water treatment brings its own challenges. The first is investment.  Upfront investment is often a barrier to many water treatment facilities that are operating on limited budgets. The second is compatibility. With ongoing innovation and new approaches to sustainable processes, one of the biggest challenges water treatment faces is in capability with their existing infrastructure. The third is exchanging sustainable chemical alternatives. When swapping out a traditional fossil-based chemical with a sustainable one, it’s very rarely a one-to-one swap. Often, far more bio-based material is required to provide the same technical performance as its predecessor.

That said, sustainability plays a critical role in water treatment, and a handful of new alternatives are being explored today that will bring unique challenges and benefits to the water treatment industry.

Water quality

With water treatment, there is the consistent challenge...