The WHO and UNICEF in 2019 published a report revealing that 1 in 3 people around the world does not have access to clean drinking water. The report also stated about 2.2 billion people are without access to safely managed drinking water services worldwide.
Since then, the world’s population has continued to rise, and the need for portable drinking water and just enough to grow our farm crops has never been greater.
But recent innovations are showing great promise in providing drinking water to some of the most remote areas throughout the globe and even creating enough water to farm our food. Some of these technologies include desalination, air to water, and even capturing moisture from the air.
Let us discuss some of these innovations in detail.
As most of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, it is no surprise that we should want access to this resource. The problem is that much of this water is in the oceans – it is too salty for human consumption. A breakthrough on this front is desalination.
Desalination technology has been quietly gathering momentum and allowing us to access water from previously untapped sources.
Desalination is the process of purifying water. Water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane (generally made from plastic), separating the contaminants from the source water: the result – purer water with a higher concentration of minerals.
2. Laser Cloud Seeding
This process involves using a laser beam aimed at a cloud in an attempt to alter its structure. It works under the principle that clouds are full of tiny microscopic particles and water droplets. When these clouds collide with the intense heat and light beam from the laser, they start releasing their moisture, causing it to rain or snow right there on the spot.
Laser cloud seeding is especially useful in a region suffering from extreme drought. For instance, UAE scientists have developed a way to artificially make it rain in the sun-drenched nation by using drones to generate electrical charges to manipulate the weather.
In late July, video footage released by meteorological officials shows a downpour over the northern emirate known as RAK and several other regions.
3. Solar Powered Water Filtration
One of the most critical determinants of clean water access in developing nations is the cost of running a water supply network. For much of the developed world, running water networks is a relatively cheap exercise.
In developing nations, however, the cost of building a water supply network from scratch is prohibitive.
Solar panel water-filtration is a process of using solar energy to clean water. Through sunlight, solar water purifiers turn contaminated water into fresh-smelling, good-tasting, and safe drinking water.
4. Fog Catchers
Rural residents and industries in arid regions have to deal with water scarcity, water scarcity, long-distance water transportation, lack of groundwater recharge facilities, high cost of drilling new groundwater wells, etc. One way has not been explored until recently to solve these or address them partially: harvesting fog.
Fog Harvesting, also known as fog catching, collects fog droplets and uses them for irrigation or drinking water purposes. Fog is a natural phenomenon wherein a mixture of moisture-laden air travels from the land to the sea at low temperatures.
This phenomenon is common in rural areas which lack running water, electricity, or both. For example, there is a severe water shortage in Sidi Ifni, where all groundwater is used, and entire regions lack water. Fog harvesting technology is among the few ways to provide sustainable water to this desert region.
5. Rainwater Harvesting
Rainwater harvesting is the most inexpensive way of getting water. It involves collecting the rainwater that falls on rooftops. Rainwater harvesting usually involves two different approaches: surface runoff harvesting and rooftop harvesting.
The first method involves collecting rainwater flowing along the surface in an underground tank. The second method consists in collecting rainwater from roof catchment and storing it in a tank. The purest water source is harvested rainwater.
6. Smart Water Metering
Water scarcity may be a common problem in some regions, but it’s also an issue with a solution. To resolve this problem, you can install water metering systems, which help you know the exact amount of water consumed instead of just paying by a uniform rate. This information can help you take better control of your water consumption and reduce usage effectively.
There is an alarming increase in world population – by 2035, there are predictions that the population will reach almost 9 billion. And as the world becomes more populated, the water demand will also increase. Thanks to modern technologies, solutions to these problems are now more feasible than ever.