Water resources, even in developed nations like the United States, are being threatened by climate change, drought, population growth, waste and the growing demand for energy, which requires enormous amounts of water.
The United Nations has projected that by 2025, approximately 2.8 billion people around the world will be living in water-scarce areas.
The GE Leadership Summit on water reuse solutions, ''From Used to Useful,'' at the GE learning center in Crotonville, NY, explored ways to better protect this precious natural resource through discussions on the role of water reuse, or recycling, in securing a sustainable water supply for the future.
The summit opened on the evening of Thursday, 12 November with an addresses by GE chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt and Pennsylvania governor Edward G. Rendell. The governor has consistently put the environment first, from his promotion of alternative energy sources to current regulations regarding water treatment processes used in the drilling of natural gas reserves.
Yesterday's discussions focussed on industrial and municipal water reclamation and reuse, exploring three areas critical to moving water reuse initiatives forward: technology, economics and policy.
The speakers at the summit included Khoo Teng Chye, chief executive and a board member of Singapore's Public Utilities, who is discussed how-in the wake of a water shortage, polluted rivers and widespread floods-Singapore is successfully restoring 30 per cent of its wastewater and directing it into the drinking water supply.
''Singapore is a prime example of how the right mix of economics, strong policy and advanced technology can work together,'' said Khoo Teng Chye. ''Taking on the challenge of water reuse requires efforts in all three areas, and it is our collective effort to see that approach more broadly adopted by industries and municipalities.''