Science and technology for water purification in the coming decades

Nature. 2008 Mar 20;452(7185):301-10. doi: 10.1038/nature06599.


One of the most pervasive problems afflicting people throughout the world is inadequate access to clean water and sanitation. Problems with water are expected to grow worse in the coming decades, with water scarcity occurring globally, even in regions currently considered water-rich. Addressing these problems calls out for a tremendous amount of research to be conducted to identify robust new methods of purifying water at lower cost and with less energy, while at the same time minimizing the use of chemicals and impact on the environment. Here we highlight some of the science and technology being developed to improve the disinfection and decontamination of water, as well as efforts to increase water supplies through the safe re-use of wastewater and efficient desalination of sea and brackish water.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / statistics & numerical data
  • Agriculture / trends
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / trends
  • Disinfection / methods
  • Humans
  • Technology / economics
  • Technology / trends*
  • Water Purification / economics
  • Water Purification / methods*
  • Water Supply*