Water is a scarce resource. The charity Water Aid says 663 million people – one in ten – have no safe drinking water supply.
If the human costs weren't bad enough, the economic burden is also huge. At the most recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, the company water.org highlighted that the water crisis costs the global economy $670 billion.
But innovative people are working on tackling the challenge – for proof, just take a look at these three machines.
Taking water from the air
Israeli company Water-Gen has built machines specifically designed to create and harvest as much condensation – the water vapour that exists in the atmosphere around us – as possible.
Their machine sucks this vapour from the air and turns it into fresh drinking water. The Large Scale Water Generator produces over 3,000 litres of clean, fresh water every day.
The system is designed to be used in places that don’t have drinkable tap water, and locations that are warm and humid. Often, those two places overlap: “Places that do not have drinking water in pipes are usually hot and humid – Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa – so those two rules are almost equal,” founder and co-CEO Arye Kohavi told Business Insider recently.
The company’s products are expected to be commercially available by the end of 2017.
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Solar powered water
Strong sunshine is often associated with drought but SunToWater’s solar generator can produce 40-100 gallons of water every day from the air using sunlight, air and salt. The infographic below shows how it works.
The Water Generator is expected to save in excess of 1.8 million lives each year by providing medical-grade water for health facilities in Africa, creating potable water available on demand and on location, and producing agricultural water which will increase local food and grain production by up to 5%, says the company.
The fog catcher
The fog catcher turns fog into water in one of Peru’s poorest areas. Peruvian entrepreneur Abel Cruz has set up a network of nets that catch the water vapour in the fog, which then flows into pipes. The water is not drinkable, but is used for cooking and for watering plants. “It’s tough to live without running water,” says the fog catcher, “But this helps a little.”