van lier- Dr. Ir. Jules B. van Lier is a professor at Delft University. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The international observance of World Water Day, this year on March 22, is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro.  This year’s theme -- ‘Clean Water for a Healthy World’ -- reflects the fact that population and industrial growth are adding new sources of pollution and increased demand for clean water across the world.

Human and environmental health, drinking and agricultural water supplies for the present and future are at stake, yet water pollution rarely warrants mention as a pressing issue.

It is absolutely right that water quality considerations should be highlighted just as much as water quantity issues going forwards.

However, what is sometimes obscured in this important debate is that, even with a step change in global water treatment efforts, vast amounts of potentially valuable wastewater will continue to be produced for the foreseeable future.