Clean water and sanitation

India-H2O project: Water supply and sanitation

Inadequate sanitation is a leading cause of poverty in developing countries, largely because it causes premature mortality (with an estimated 1,800 child deaths per day due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene) and other impacts on health. The UN SDG 6 calls for water and sanitation for all and recognises that safe sanitation practices form a crucial element of future social development and economic prosperity. 

In the India-H2O project, 18 Indian and European partners, are working together to provide low-cost innovative water treatment processes. Eventually, these should have benefits to both developing and developed countries alike. The India-H2O project covers a range of innovations in advanced membrane processes and in natural treatment systems. The advanced membrane processes include reverse osmosis for groundwater desalination and forward osmosis for water reuse from municipal and industrial effluents. The natural treatment systems make use of both freshwater and salt-tolerant plants such as Salicornia. Not only can such plants manage difficult waste streams like brines from desalination plants, they can also provide a nutritional crop. So alongside drinking water production, there will be many benefits in terms of reuse of resources and avoiding dumping polluting effluents into the environment. 

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Chemical engineers will play a significant role in this fight against water scarcity and poor sanitation. We can apply our knowledge and expertise to develop and design low-cost, sustainable processes and technology to fulfil the requirement for water supply and sanitation in developing countries, improving living standards and wellbeing. 

Find out more about the India-H2O project.

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