Desalination: The Solution to the Global Drinking Water Crisis?

As the global water crisis persists, many around the world are looking for new freshwater resources. One way viewed as a freshwater resource is seawater. But why? Many know that seawater is not safe for human consumption, so why is it even being considered? Look no further than Desalination as the reason. Desalination refers to the removal of salts and minerals from water supplies to create fresh and drinkable water. Proponents argue that desalination can be used where freshwater supplies are scarce, but seawater is plentiful. The theory is that desalination plants can be built to supply a community with fresh water for households, manufacturing and agriculture. It is also argued that it would increase the freshwater supply and give millions more access to freshwater.

However, many argue that the cost of desalination is simply too high. Desalinated water could cost five times more than the cost of harvesting other sources of freshwater. In poorer areas, the cost of desalination is even higher and the funds are limited there as well. Another main argument is that it would do nothing stop water waste. Many point out that the key to ending the global water crisis is to focus on water management and sensible usage of water (i.e. cutting back on water usage to conserve).

During this debate, we can’t forget the importance that Reverse Osmosis Systems (or RO systems) have for our own water supply at home. RO systems contain tiny pores through which water can flow. These small pores are restrictive to organic compounds like salt and other natural minerals. Here is a RO system suggestion that will benefit you and your family.

1240MSeries

The Hydrotech M Series Reverse Osmosis System filters water through 4 stages to make sure that your water is free from dissolved solids and organics, and free from pathogens and VOCs that could be present in your homes tap water.

The debate on desalination is just heating up and you can expect to hear more about it in the months and years ahead. But what do you think? Do you think desalination can be a solution to the global water crisis? Or do you think we should focus more on water management and other freshwater resources?

An Invisible Blessing: A Billboard Generates Drinking Water out of Air

billboard-water-from-air

IMAGE CREDIT: http://techland.time.com

The high humidity level of Lima, Peru (which is around 83%) was always seen as a fact, but never a blessing. Better yet, it was never viewed as a potential solution to the water shortage that Lima is currently dealing with. As the second largest desert in the world, Lima sees very little annual rainfall and, according to a 2011 article in The Independent, 1.2 million of its residents lack running water. The humid conditions of Lima are now being put to good use, in the most unlikely of forms—a billboard.

Looking to create a splash to kick off its 2013 application period, The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) teamed up with ad agency Mayo DraftFCB to create a billboard that would convert the H2O-saturated air of Lima into potable water. What is the most amazing part of this invention? They actually succeeded.

With nothing more than a basic filtration system, humidity and ingenuity, this billboard produces around 26 gallons per day of potable water from the air. View the diagram below to get a feel for how this invention works.

water-generator-diagram

IMAGE CREDIT: http://techland.time.com

This amazing billboard is located in the middle of the Peruvian desert, where clean drinking water is especially difficult to come by. According to Mayo DraftFCB, this modern marvel has produced around 2,500 gallons of water since the billboard was first erected in December of 2012. This invention requires an undisclosed amount of electricity to work, but many believe that if future models become self-sufficient using solar energy, then it could become both a viable and eco-friendly alternative.

As cool as this invention is, this is a sobering reminder of the harsh realities that many of the world’s population face from day to day. The need for fresh drinking water is a basic human necessity that is often left unmet. Whether your source of water is coming from a filtered water pitcher, or from a billboard, you need this precious resource to survive and to function properly in this Earth.

Only time will tell how feasible this invention can be at a larger scale and what adjustments (if any) would be needed. Do you see this becoming a viable solution down the road? Would you mind seeing one of these in your neighborhood? Don’t be shy. Let us know your opinion in the comments below.

Both images used in this blog are courtesy of techland.time.com.

World Water Day 2013: What Water Cooperation Means

World Water Day 2013

We are celebrating World Water Day, an internationally recognized day held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing awareness on the importance of and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The first World Water Day was designated on March 22, 1993. Each year this day highlights a specific aspect or “theme” of freshwater.

This year, the theme is water cooperation. As many of you know, water is one of the most precious resources on this planet. Water is an integral part of society: It powers cities, feeds crops, cools computer servers, keeps our bodies functioning properly and is used in manufacturing everything from cars to clothes. However, there is growing concern over this seemingly abundant resource. Although water makes up 75% of the Earth’s surface, only a fraction (around 2%) is suitable for human consumption. Of that 2%, less than 1% is currently accessible.

According to unwater.org, water availability is expected to decrease in many regions; yet global agricultural water consumption is expected to increase by 19% by 2050.  Add in challenges faced from pollution and climate change, and it is little wonder why many fear this valuable resource is dwindling.

freshwater-diagram

Image Credit: http://apesnature.homestead.com/chapter9.html

These challenges have resulted in the global water crisis, a situation where a growing number of people lack access to safe, fresh drinking water as freshwater resources become scarcer. Many (rightfully so) see this as a problem, and a growing threat to life on Earth. Some have even predicted future wars over freshwater resources that could wreak further havoc on already struggling nations.

However, I believe we should look at this issue differently. What if we stopped viewing it as a problem, and started viewing it as a unique opportunity? An opportunity to come together, to set aside differences and to work out solutions to this problem that affects everybody.  This is what I believe the theme of water cooperation is truly about.

Coming together for the good of the whole has nothing to do with politics. It does have everything to do with each individual person doing their part in society. This involves practicing water conservation techniques on a regular basis, becoming more educated on water-related issues and becoming connected with a water charity that aims at ending this growing concern.

The theme of cooperation is easily found in The W3 Project, a water charity partnership between FiltersFast.com, Wine to Water and TrekDesk. By working together, we are providing clean drinking water for those in need. By donating miles, or donating $1 at checkout on FiltersFast.com, you are making a difference in lives around the world.

As a small business, we are fully committed to a more sustainable environment which will improve overall health. We encourage you to do your part in helping end this growing crisis, we all have a part to play, so let’s play it.

Now is not the time to sit on the sideline. This problem will not go away by itself. It takes all of us coming together and doing our part (no matter how small) to end this crisis. This is what water cooperation is about.