The stats are pretty frightening. Approximately 1 in 5 people on the planet lack regular access to safe drinking water. With a $15 billion bottled water market and a $100 billion water treatment industry, it's hard to believe that our global infrastructure for clean water has still managed to deprive so many.
But, that could suddenly change very quickly.
It's the kind of invention that sounds so simple it's too good to be true, but advance in technology to extract water from air, as we read "could well become one of the most significant enabling technologies in the history of mankind as it will enable man to begin to reconsider the cultivation of vast tracts of previously inhospitable land."
Quite simply, the innovation of AirWater Corps' machines function much like dehumidifiers, in that they condense the air's humidity and produce water much the way the cycles of condensation and evaporation do in rain and snow. The machine traps that condensed humidity and filters the resulting water to make it drinkable. Yup, it's pretty much that simple. But you can read more about the tricks in the process here.
The company's newest deployable machine has the capability of producing up to 1,000 liters of purified and filtered water daily, that can be stored in on-board water tanks, dispensed for drinking or washing via two built-in shower units, and also has a built in ice-making component. A larger 5, 000 liter producing mobile unit, (being developed for the military) will run on solar energy, and will be able to provide water from the sun virtually anywhere, anytime.International Aid organizations like the United Nations and the Red Cross are beginning to use them for humanitarian work, but the implications are really quite endless.
Imagine, vibrant new squatter industries rivaling global bottled water markets with their own local brands. Farms rooting in arid places never deemed agriculturally viable before, harvesting brand new strains of exotic desert foods to solve famine crises across Africa. Refugee camps built out of ice. Nomadic tribes wander around refilling evaporated lake beds. Villages along neglected borders, no longer reliant on dwindling estuaries, intoxicated rivers, or polluted rains for their water resource.
Products like the AirWater machine and the Mobile Power Station could drastically change the patterns of global migration, the self-sustenance of informal settlements, not to mention help relieve the earth of our consumptive stress on the environment in general. I am sure the folks at WorldChanging could sum this up better than I, but these types of open-source pieces of emerging mobile infrastructure could go a long way in rebuking our dependencies on corporate energy, helping communities go off-grid, stabilizing the backlash landscapes to rampant global urbanism which has failed to acknowledge the most basic needs of 20% of the world's population.
Without a doubt, these are the tools of the revolution.
(Images, thanks to Gizmag)