The lack of access to safe water supply and sanitation has immediate and negative consequences, creating a well-documented plethora of health, environmental and socio-economic problems.
Water provision is fundamental for a sustainable livelihood, and the lack of availability of adequate, safe and affordable water supplies impacts especially on vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and the poor.
Given the importance of potable water to people in both developed and developing countries, and taking into account concerns regarding the viability of current practices of meeting the increasing demands of all water users, there is a clear need to develop innovative new technologies and materials to address challenges associated with the provision of safe potable water.
Although new approaches are continually being examined, these need to be durable, cost-effective, and more efficient than current options for the removal of contaminants from water, either in situ or in water purification systems.
Innovation holds the key to the mitigation all of these problems ranging from unsophisticated technologies like rooftop rainwater harvesting to nanotechnology. Ensuring a safe water supply for South Africa and the rest of the world is possible, but it will require innovation and action, and sometimes drastic action.