Water may prove to be the most critical natural resource impacting human and ecosystem health. There is mounting evidence that the condition of water supplies in many regions of the world, including the United States, is worsening. With rapid economic growth taking place, there are challenging problems occurring in many water supply reservoirs. The spectre of climate change hangs over these developments with implication for both water availability and quality.
During the past couple of decades, there has been a vast improvement in understanding of the physical, chemical, and microbial processes that govern water quality in lakes and reservoirs. Similar advances have occurred in the understanding of water treatment processes. There is an urgent need to take advantage of this new knowledge by more closely integrating lake and reservoir management with the operation of water treatment plants. Looking into the immediate future, the major problems in the lakes and reservoirs of the world are becoming more pressing in the rapidly developing regions such as the Asia-Pacific. These regions are demanding the benefits of rapid growth and can now afford to pay for management solutions in terms of improved water supply and the associated environmental management. There is huge potential to help solve these real problems from an interdisciplinary and applied perspective.
We recently published successful tests using side stream supersaturation (SSS), a type of hypolimnetic oxygenation system, in a shallow reservoir (Gerling et al., Water Research, Vol. 67, 2014, pp. 129-143). The SSS system increased hypolimnetic dissolved oxygen concentrations without weakening stratification or warming the sediments. The SSS system also suppressed the release of reduced iron and manganese, and likely phosphorus, from the sediments.