Water Planet Increasingly Suffering Water Shortage – Preserve the Limited Water Resources –
Coastal industrial complex of Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s largest industrial city, viewed from the mouth of the Gaoping River flowing in Southern Taiwan
The Earth viewed from space is often referred to as the “Water Planet.” However, most of water on the Earth is seawater containing salt, which accounts for about 97% of all of the water resources. Most of the rest, or fresh water, is in the form of snow/ice and glaciers and most groundwater is deep under the ground. When it comes to fresh water that is usable by humans, this makes up only 0.01% of all of the water resources on the Earth*. Preservation of these precious water resources is a great challenge for humans. Furthermore, due to various factors, such as global population increase, the growth of emerging economies, and climate change, the world is facing an increasingly serious water shortage. Under these circumstances, it is essential to effectively use water resources. To be specific, it is required to introduce and evolve water treatment technology to purify and reuse water once polluted. At the beginning of 2000, the Sumitomo Electric Group successfully developed epoch-making water treatment membrane modules to help solve the social problem of global water shortage and thus newly entered the water treatment industry. Ever since, those modules have been introduced to water treatment facilities not only in Japan but also in East Asia and North America and earned a high reputation. This feature article explains the project to introduce the modules to the water treatment facilities of a petroleum refinery company in Taiwan, which was a key milestone and triggered the cultivation of a wider water treatment market, as well as our initiatives to establish a manufacturing site of the Sumitomo Electric Group in China. The passion and aspirations of the Sumitomo Electric Group employees there will lead efforts to solving the global water shortage problem and conserving the environment of the “Water Planet” Earth.
* Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism “Responding to International Water Resource Problems”