Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Water is the most important resource on the planet and an irreplaceable resource for all forms of life. As a limiting and determining factor for all forms of social or technological development, it can make a decisive difference between well-being or misery. It may even cause future international crises. At the same time, it is an efficient solvent and readily becomes a vehicle for man-made residues and waste, capable of transporting these to the remotest parts of the planet. Through the effect it has had on natural cycles, the development of human civilisation has severely compromised the natural balance of many ecosystems; above all, aquatic environments are no longer able to cope with the considerable amount of pollutants that end up there through the direct or indirect actions of man. The permanent abuse of this extremely precious resource has led to inferior water quality, a shortage of clean water and to a general deterioration of the environment. For this reason, traditional approaches for overcoming problems related to water use are no longer adequate to protect water resources; above all, from a technological point of view, they need to assume a more holistic dimension and possibly re-emerge as systems which are more efficient, more economical and, in particular, more compatible with the environment.

Additional information

Authors: MUNTAU H, Instituto Dell'Ambeinte, Ispra (IT);BIANCHI M, Instituto Dell'Ambeinte, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 19821 IT (2001), pp.289. Euro: Free of charge
Availability: Available free of charge from Documentation service JRC Ispra
Record Number: 200013566 / Last updated on: 2001-06-12
Original language: it
Available languages: it