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Answering the water wake-up call

How can we help bolster the world's water security?

Drought, flooding and contaminated drinking water. Aaron Packman of Northwestern Engineering refers to them as water security wake-up calls. With devastating crises like these making headlines, people are coming to grips with the need to rebuild old infrastructure while facing down climate change. Northwestern researchers like Packman, Sera Young and Will Dichtel are working with partners on and off campus to design materials and processes to reduce the risk of water disruptions on the global, national and local scales.

Latest News

Nature could help solve water security problems

Green space for floods

Scientists at Northwestern's Center for Water Researchalong with collaborators around the world, are working to understand the breadth of global water crises and using that data to inform the design of resilient next-generation systems. Read more

Water Security Stories

Read about other Northwestern water projects

Urgent call for Great Lakes climate adaptation

Climate crises threaten the health and prosperity of the Great Lakes region, and a key Congressional priority should be to make data about the impact on lives and industry more available to all, said researcher Aaron Packman.

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Water security research spurred by conversations with women

As part of her research on food insecurity in Kenya, Sera Young asked women to take pictures of things that influence how they feed their children. She was inundated with pictures of water.

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'Green infrastructure' as an urban water security strategy

As part of a new collaborative initiative, Northwestern is helping provide unique insights into the effects of flood mitigation interventions in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy.

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Commercial Solution

Technology targets drinking water threat

The toxic water pollutant perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has caused several U.S. communities to close their drinking water supplies in recent years. Used in Teflon production and other industrial processes, PFOA is a pervasive water security threat worldwide. Now chemist William Dichtel and a Northwestern-led research team has created an inexpensive and renewable material to remove the PFOA from water. The material and technology are being developed for commercial use by CycloPure, Inc., a company co-founded by Dichtel.

Read more about the discovery

Published: March 15, 2019. Updated: April 07, 2020.

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