With the world facing an inevitable increase in water shortages in many parts of the globe, it will require innovative thinking to come up with solutions. Here are some innovative tools that offer ways to alleviate the problems of insufficient freshwater availability.
SE200 Community Chlorine Maker
Contaminated drinking water is a major problem throughout the world and the SE200 was developed to allow people to easily purify water with salt and a 12-volt battery. Through the process of electrolysis, the mixture of salt, water, and electricity produces chlorine that kills harmful bacteria in the water. It was designed to be so easy to use that even a school-age child can do it. The device was created by Mountain Safety Research and PATH and costs $239.
LifeStraw is a small and inexpensive microfiltration device that removes over 99.9% of waterborne bacteria. Each LifeStraw weighs just 2 ounces and can filter 264 gallons to 0.2 microns. For every LifeStraw purchased, the company also provides safe drinking water to one school child for one school year.
Water-Gen Atmospheric Water-Generation Units
Water-Gen, an Israeli company developed the Atmospheric Water-Generation Unit that generates drinking water from the moisture in the air. Each system can produce 65-210 gallons of potable water per day and uses two cents of electricity per liter of water. The air is dehumidified to remove the water, then the water is passed through an extensive water filtration process to remove any contamination. However, the technology is relatively expensive with the models ranging from $18,000 to $30,000.
Solar desalination offers a promising way to generate freshwater from the vast amount of available seawater. The Desolenator is a portable solar desalination tool that removes 99.9% of contaminants from water and can produce about 15 liters of freshwater per day at a cost of about $774 for the device. The company estimates that the device has a life-span of 20 years.
Swedish company Orbital Systems developed the OrbSys Shower which collects shower water, purifies it, and pumps it back through the showerhead. This process saves 90% of water usage when showering which is ideal in areas where freshwater is scarce. While a regular shower uses 150 liters for a 10 minute shower, the OrbSys Shower only uses about 5 liters which the company says could save a family $1,000 in a year on their water bill.
The Warka Water is a 30-foot tall tower that can collect up to 26 gallons of drinking water per day. The structure holds a nylon or polypropylene net that catches droplets of dew which roll down to a collection container at the bottom where it can be dispensed. The Warka Water is also biodegradable and can be set up in less than a week without mechanical tools. The estimated cost is about $1,000 per tower.
Omni Processor – S200
The Omni Processor S200 by Janicki Bioenergy is a heat and power plant that converts sewage into energy and 13,000 – 22,700 gallons of drinking water that meets US FDA standards. The company was recently funded by the Gates Foundation with Bill Gates publicly drinking water produced by the system. The prototype is currently in Washington state and a test system is scheduled to be built in Dakar, Senegal this year.