The management of water on the Earth is an increasing challenge, as global population grows and consequently puts greater demand on a limited resource. According to the GreenFacts Initiative, freshwater accounts for only 2.5 percent of water on the planet, and most of that is frozen in glaciers and ice caps. Only a small fraction is available on the surface for use by living things, including humans.
Water is an essential resource for economic activity, and industry is a substantial user of water. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that industry uses 18.7 percent of available water globally and 43 percent in North America. The U.N.’s World Water Development Report says that “Water scarcity is viewed as an increasing business risk, with industrial water supply security dependent on sufficient resources,” a problem that is compounded “by geographic and seasonal variations, as well as water allocations and competing water needs in a given region.” Read more
Last month, President Barack Obama hosted 100 student innovators from more than 40 states for the third annual White House Science Fair, celebrating student achievements in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. This year’s group of youths included app coders, algae growers, video game designers, city planners, roboticists, and rocket scientists.