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Posted Mon Jan 19 2009: from Fast Company:
Water Desalination: The Answer to the World's Thirst?
A quick spin through recent headlines reveals just how badly -- and how soon -- we're going to need new supplies of freshwater: Over the past 18 months in the United States alone, the governor of Georgia declared a state of emergency due to water shortages; salmonella contaminated municipal water in Colorado; and eight states ratified the Great Lakes Basin Compact, an agreement designed to ensure that Great Lakes water, nearly 20 percent of the world's freshwater, won't be shipped beyond those basins -- not even to nearby Minneapolis or Pittsburgh. Worldwide, the picture is far bleaker. Global water consumption has roughly doubled since World War II, and yet, according to the United Nations, 1.1 billion people still have no access to a clean, reliable supply. Eighty percent of disease and deaths in developing countries -- more than 2.2 million people a year, including 3,900 children each day -- are caused by diseases associated with unsanitary water. The cost of waterborne diseases and associated lost productivity drains 2 percent of developing countries' GDP each year.... Saltwater already comprises 97.5 percent of the water resources on the planet, and 60 percent of the world's population lives within 65 miles of a seacoast. Why not desalinate seawater and slake the thirst of nations?
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