Inadequate fresh water supply is a worldwide problem: nearly a fifth of the globe's population lives in areas of water scarcity, and some of these countries are poised for significant economic and population growth. Economic and population stressors, along with the effects of climate change, will intensify water shortages, especially in emerging nations and arid regions in the Middle East. In response, advanced environment and sustainability (E&S) technology developers in countries such as Israel are setting up solar desalination plants with innovative membrane technologies to generate thousands of gallons of fresh water.(Source: Frost & Sullivan)(Source: Frost & Sullivan)

A comprehensive review of these trends and developments is offered in Top Technologies in Environment and Sustainability, 2017, part of Frost & Sullivan's Clean & Green Environment Growth Partnership Subscription. The study offers in-depth strategic analyses of the top 10 E&S technologies: precision agriculture, off-grid desalination, wastewater membrane filtration, wastewater nutrient recovery, zero-liquid discharge, micro irrigation, waste-to-energy, advanced oxidation processes, produced water remediation and carbon capture, as well as utilization and storage. As these technologies are highly labor intensive, they also influence the socioeconomic status of the people in urban, semi-urban and rural areas.

New farm management technologies like micro and drip irrigation systems will greatly bolster the agriculture industry in developing countries. The implementation of the cash-and-carry model will allow companies to participate all along the agricultural value chain, so they can provide inputs to farmers on micro irrigation solutions, seeds, saplings and skillset development.

However, high capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operating expenses (OPEX) of top technologies like advanced oxidation processes and wastewater membrane filtration, and the general lack of end-user awareness, will restrain their adoption rates, even in urban areas. These issues can be mitigated to a large extent by public-private partnerships between governments and non-governmental organizations of developing countries to educate end users in rural and semi-urban areas about the importance of the technologies in creating a sustainable environment.

More innovation will likely translate into a reduction in the CAPEX and OPEX of E&S technologies. In the future, R&D of brine management and other wastewater resource recovery solutions will be given more importance so that complete commercialization of these technologies will be possible, even in developing nations.