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Improving Water Sustainability with High-Recovery Reverse Osmosis

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As organizations set goals to increase the sustainability of their water resources, reverse osmosis (RO), particularly high-recovery RO, offers a robust method to achieve these corporate initiatives.

The terms “green” and “sustainable” are not just buzzwords in today’s lexicon — they are also serious corporate goals. The corporate community’s adoption of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives addresses issues like water resource depletion, climate change, and wastewater treatment on a global scale (1). Today, the science behind water treatment is receiving more attention due to the increasing demand for a finite resource.

Historically, ground and surface waters have been readily accessible sources for most water needs. Unfortunately, climate change is compromising surface water volume and quality as well as the ability of aquifers to recharge. Ocean seawater is a vast resource (Figure 1) (2), but its high salt content precludes its use for human consumption and use in industrial facilities. Meeting sustainability metrics will require managing locally available water supplies in a financially and environmentally responsible manner. Another important piece of the puzzle will be large-scale deployment of water treatment technologies capable of preparing water for various end uses while conserving this resource.

2.5% of the world’s water is fresh or brackish

Figure 1. Only 2.5% of the world’s water is fresh or brackish. Furthermore, only 20% of that fresh water is accessible ground and surface water; therefore, reducing the water intensity of industrial processes is crucial for water sustainability (2). Reused with permission of Scrivener Publishing...

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