Global Water Center tackles major challenges with international cooperation

China 24

Global Water Center tackles major challenges with international cooperation

March 22nd marks World Water Day, which focuses attention on the importance of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in developing countries.

Chinese companies have invested around $12 million in the United States to build a Water Technology Center.

Some of the research results are being used to solve flooding problems and water shortage challenges in both countries.

CGTN’s Han Peng reports.

The Global Water Center brings together dozens of water-tech companies, university faculties and investment firms – all working in the same building. Dean Amhaus, President and CEO of the Global Water Center, said only when these people are physically together can they have the chemistry to innovate usable products.

“So you just need to put in a drop of water into this test cell, and then connect it with the meter, it will read your lead concentration right away,” demonstrated Dr. Junhong Chen, a researcher.

Dr. Chen said he could never have come up with the idea of developing this device if he weren’t working with companies.

“Right now, in the market, you know, if you want to test out your water, there are two major options,” Chen said. “One is to collect your water sample and send it to the analytical labs. Maybe a couple of days later, you can get the result. The other approach is to buy test strips, but it’s not very reliable. It can work but cannot work sometimes.”

Some of the research projects in this building are already being used in the real world. For example, pave-drain technology helps reduce flooding. Storm water passes through special bricks very quickly, and what’s more, researchers say the bricks can filter the water before it goes into underground water system. It won China’s blue tech award last year.

Technologies like these might be used in what President Xi Jinping calls “sponge city” programs in China. The country used to rely on drainage systems to remove rainwater. But as extreme weather events increase, Chinese city planners have begun to set up systems to allow rainwater to be stored and purified to prepare for dry times.

“We are having a lot of discussions on sponge city efforts in China,” said Amhaus. “We are talking with many cities to see if we can partner up with them.”

Lifeng Li discusses China’s efforts at water conservation

For more on World Water Day and China’s major conservation projects, CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke to Lifeng Li. He is the former director of the Freshwater Programme for WWF International.