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Posted Wed Jan 28 2009: from ACS, via EurekAlert:
Substantial work ahead for water issues, say scientists at ACS' Final Report briefing
Scientists and engineers will face a host of obstacles over the next decade in providing clean water to millions of people caught up in a water shortage crisis, a panel of scientists and engineers said today... Although Edwards stressed the importance of water conservation in meeting those, he also cited unintended consequences of such efforts. He noted, for instance, that reduced-flush toilets and other water conservation methods are allowing water to remain in household pipes longer. As it stagnates in pipes, the water could develop undesirable characteristics and have unwanted effects on household plumbing.... For instance, hypoxic zones in the Bay -- large areas of low oxygen levels where most animals can't live -- are still growing despite lacking the nutrients they need for expansion. "We don't fully understood why that is so," Ball said. "There's a lot to be learned yet about what locations and causes lead to that phenomenon, whether there are carbon sources coming in from the shallows into the deep that current models and understanding don't capture."... For example, the use of sensors to detect potentially toxic substances in water could provide general benefits for safety. Cost-effective, low maintenance sensors are a Holy Grail, Haas said, but difficult to develop. He warned that over-sensitive sensors could be counterproductive.
[Read more stories about: water issues, toxic water, dead zones, unintended consequences, pharmwater]

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