Growing populations are straining supplies in parched areas of the U.S. Southwest, the Middle East and Australia, forcing governments to come up with costly solutions or face the risk of shortages. Other regions have plenty of water but lose billions of gallons a day because of an aging infrastructure prone to leaks and catastrophic failure.
While there’s no single miracle cure for water shortages, a host of innovative technologies already are making headway, or promise to do so in the near future. Sophisticated software can quickly spot leaky pipes, for instance, while new filters can more efficiently draw fresh water from the sea or clean wastewater, using everything from microscopic tubes to proteins found in living cells.
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