World Water Day calling attention to global issue of clean water scarcity
TREVOSE, PA, March 17, 2010 -- According to the United Nations Development Program, more than 1 billion people, or about one in six worldwide, do not have safe drinking water and more than 2 billion lack access to adequate sanitation...
• Today's technology can support water reuse practices, but policy incentives still needed for long-term success
TREVOSE, PA, March 17, 2010 -- According to the United Nations Development Program, more than 1 billion people, or about one in six worldwide, do not have safe drinking water and more than 2 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. If current water usage trends continue, by the year 2025 two-thirds of the world's population won't have enough clean water.
With World Water Day (March 22) fast approaching, now is the time for a global effort to support the widespread adoption of water reuse practices, which can be a key step toward quickly and effectively reversing the global threat of clean water scarcity.
Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO -- Water & Process Technologies, GE Power & Water, urged the adoption of fiscal and policy incentives to drive greater water reuse. "With supportive frameworks in place, we can make great progress in creating a global society that adheres to and promotes water reuse," he said.
The water treatment and reuse technology exists today to help address this global challenge. Unfortunately, the motivation to employ these technology solutions often doesn't. In the United States, for example, it is often less expensive to withdraw water from a river or a well than to treat it and reuse it.
"Industry leaders, educators and policymakers worldwide need to work together, proactively tackling the policies, technology developments and fiscal issues needed to ensure an adequate supply of clean water for the future," Markhoff said.
GE Power & Water provides proven technologies and solutions for water treatment and reuse and continues to invest heavily to enhance current products and to develop new, even more advanced technologies. The company offers a diverse selection of technologies for the global water treatment industry ranging from desalination to cooling water solutions, mobile water to petrochemical solutions and water recovery to boiler water solutions.
GE continues to enhance its capabilities to help customers meet the world's water challenges. Two recent examples: GE is creating a center of excellence (COE) in Minnetonka, Minn., for manufacturing reverse osmosis and nanofiltration membranes; and a COE in Oroszlány, Hungary, for manufacturing ZeeWeed* ultrafiltration membranes. ZeeWeed technology is the cornerstone of GE's filtration product line and has been installed in more than 500 drinking water and wastewater facilities worldwide. A GE COE brings together the company's most advanced capabilities and expertise to focus on a key technology sector.
Further expanding its global presence and capabilities, GE has established a world-scale Global R&D Center in Singapore and recently opened the GE Saudi Water & Process Technologies Center in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
GE has many examples of providing technology for successful water treatment and reuse projects around the globe, ranging from small commercial building installations to the largest reuse plant in the world, in Kuwait. Some recent examples include:
A new water treatment system, the first to be used in a North American coal mine, is being implemented by CONSOL Energy Inc. in one of the nation's largest coal mines. The Buchanan No. 1 coal mine in Oakwood, Va., will receive GE's advanced filtration membranes and thermal water treatment technology to treat the mine water, enabling about 99 percent of the water to be reused in part at the company's preparation plant facility.
OMNOVA Solutions' Performance Chemicals and GE have implemented a sustainable water solution in a greater Green Bay (Village of Howard), Wis., facility to save 3.6 million gallons of water per year, lessening the stress on fresh water sources and reducing environmental impact.
Cogentrix Energy, LLC's 120-megawatt power plant in Battleboro, N.C., has implemented a GE technology solution to conserve an estimated 3 million gallons of water annually, or the equivalent to approximately 22 percent of its current water usage. This greatly reduced its dependence on municipal freshwater sources impacted by a historic drought that ended earlier this year.
GE technology has helped SVA-FujiFilm Opto-Electronics Materials Co. Ltd. of China reduce tap water consumption, wastewater discharge and operational costs. A customized water treatment system at the company's Shanghai site has been operating since September 2008 and has achieved both high water quality and raw water saving -- up to 15%-25% less water consumption compared to conventional solutions.
Using GE technology, the city of Tempe, Ariz., has expanded its water reclamation program, resulting in the reuse of an additional 2.5 billion gallons of water a year for commercial and industrial applications. Tempe's Kyrene Water Reclamation Facility was recently upgraded with GE's ZeeWeed membrane bioreactor technology to improve water reuse.
Multiple GE technologies are featured at the Sulaibiya wastewater treatment plant in Kuwait. The world's largest membrane-based wastewater filtration plant, Sulaibiya purifies more than 1 million gallons of wastewater per day for agricultural and industrial uses.
* Trademark of General Electric Company; may be registered in one or more countries.
GE is a diversified global infrastructure, finance and media company that's built to meet essential world needs. From energy, water, transportation and health to access to money and information, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. GE serves the energy sector by developing and deploying technology that helps make efficient use of natural resources. With 60,000 global employees and 2009 revenues of $37 billion, GE Energy www.ge.com/energy is one of the world's leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies. The businesses that comprise GE Energy -- GE Power & Water, GE Energy Services and GE Oil & Gas -- work together to provide integrated product and service solutions in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; and other alternative fuels. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com. GE is imagination at work.