Nanotechnology Promises Water Resource Gains but Raises Concerns

Some say a nanorevolution is at hand, perhaps not an overly zealous assessment considering the emerging pervasiveness of nanotechnology and its rapid pace of development. The water resource field is among those areas expected to benefit from nanotechnology, its application holding special promise for treatment and remediation; sensing and detection; and pollution prevention. That cuts a rather wide swath in the water resources field.

The nanorevolution or movement is being met with both optimism and caution as scientists ponder how best to take advantage of its benefits and at the same time understand and reckon with its possible risks.

A promising prospect with something of a sci-fi appeal, nanotechnology or nanotech is about size rather than a particular scientific discipline. Nanomaterial, a billionth of a meter, is to matter what a nanosecond is to time, a billionth of a second. A nanometer is roughly 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and 1 million times smaller than a single grain of sand.

Read more from this commentary and from other articles in the spring 2010 issue of Arizona Water Resource, published by the Water Resources Research Center, at the link below.

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Joe Gelt, Water Resources Research Center
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Released date: 
May 28 2010