We’re used to talking about climate change by now—we’ve incorporated its language into our politics, our commerce, our everyday lives. But for many of us, it can still feel like an abstract threat, looming interminably while never truly touching down.

It has touched down, though, which is particularly evident in our slowly dwindling supply of fresh water. There are other factors that also conspire to leave certain demographics disproportionately vulnerable to water shortages. But emerging solutions to this global problem could improve the outlook considerably.

From in-home water filters to industrial treatment centers, technology that can make our water pure again needs to be broadly implemented if we want to keep future generations from going thirsty. If we don’t, drinking water will become a resource so scarce that it could cause international conflicts.

If we can reinvent the water cycle to include scientific treatments that turn our water from polluted to potable, we can augment global health, global economies, and global sustainability. Water is the most basic of our needs, but the time has passed when it can be taken for granted.