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Home - Global Challenges - Water Resources

Water Resources

Water Information Center
The Water Information Center provides an overview of the Academies' work in the field of water science and technology, including many reports, and assists the work of water scientists, engineers, managers, policy makers, and students throughout the world. Once a year for the past 15 years, at the Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture, speakers have presented a range of topics including A Global Thirst for Safe Water: The Case of Cholera (2002, PDF 66 KB) and A Sustainable Vision for Water in the Twenty-First Century (2008, PDF 164 KB). 

Drinking Water
Clean drinking water is a basic human need. Sadly, more than one in six people still lack access to this precious commodity. With the cooperation of scientific, engineering, and medical academies from around the world, the National Academies developed the Web resource Safe Drinking Water is Essential. It offers extensive information in five languages on topics related to drinking water quality and options for distribution and treatment. Please also download the brochure Drinking Water (in English only, PDF 1.64 MB). 

Global Environmental Health
Current water services and policy efforts fail to integrate different aspects of providing sustainable quality water into a holistic solution, especially with regard to human health. To promote public health, it is necessary to preserve future water security and quality. The summary of the workshop on Global Environmental Health: Research Gaps and Barriers for Providing Sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Services (2009) captures the discussions on the interdependence of environmental health and human health as connected through water and the interrelationship of sanitation and hygiene; the integrated social, economic, health, technological, and political aspects of a sustainable interdisciplinary global solution; the need to bridge the gap between research and community action; andthe potential solutions to ensure the future availability of quality water. 

Mobilizing Science-Based Enterprises for Energy, Water, and Medicines in Nigeria
In Nigeria, about two-thirds of the population lacks access to safe water and the electricity grid as well as effective treatment for malaria. In a collaborative effort, the U.S. National Academies and the Nigerian Academy of Science explored ways in which science-based private enterprises can be created and encouraged in Nigeria and other developing countries to provide products and services that government is unable to supply in a timely and sustainable manner. Focusing on three critical challenges to health and development—safe water, electrical lighting, and malaria therapy—the report identifies a sample technology to address each of these challenges with potential for commercialization in Nigeria and Africa, and uses that sample technology to identify opportunities and barriers to creating science-based enterprises in Nigeria. Order the report. 

The Role of Science in Solving the Earth's Emerging Water Problems
In October 2004, the Sackler NAS Colloquium on the Role of Science in Solving the Earth's Emerging Water Problems brought together 16 speakers who gave presentations in 4 sessions covering (a) water problems from a global perspective, (b) water and the environment, (c) new perspectives in water management, and (d) the importance of water institutions. Download a detailed introduction to this colloquium.

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