Demand for fresh water is continuously growing worldwide and more than half of the world would be under water stress by 2015 [1]. As the gap between available fresh water and demand widens, the current water and wastewater treatment technologies are challenged to treat tougher waters and meet stringent environmental regulations at affordable cost. Conventional treatment technologies have been successful within limits of feed water quality, contaminant removal efficiencies, recoveries and treatment cost. However, to manage this global crisis, a holistic approach to water treatment needs to be adopted to provide a robust and cost effective solution for lot more demanding requirements. This paper focuses on key trends in water treatment technology, from both the component and system design perspective that significantly impact the total solution and ability to meet the overall requirements. Also specific developments in desalination and wastewater treatment technologies like Reverse Osmosis, Ultrafiltration, energy recovery devices and Membrane bioreactors are discussed that have significantly widened the capability envelope. An integrated multi-scale approach to system design leveraging various technologies can provide the viable alternatives and meet this global challenge in sustainable way.

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