The Fight for Clean Water
Over 750 million people worldwide suffer from water scarcity. MIT estimates that number will balloon to 1.8 billion by 2025. Those numbers will make you sit back and think. Luckily, it has had the same effect on some of the world’s top minds, and now they are working to combat water scarcity.
Literally Catching Clouds
Munich-based Aqualonis came up with their unconventional CloudFisher technology after observing Moroccan mountain towns’ oxymoron: there was a ton of moisture in the area in the form of heavy fog, but no drinking water. Their solution: 17,000 square feet of CloudFisher nets designed to convert that fog to clean drinking water. In 24 hours the nets produce enough drinking water for 800 people. Aqualonis is now seeking out other fog-drenched regions in Australia, Chile, and California to extend their technology and their impact.
Clean Like a Moss
Dr. David Knighton was piloting a plane over Minnesota lakes when he noticed them becoming clearer as he went further north. He then started thinking back to an article he read about World War I wounds being effectively disinfected with moss and began to make connections. Today, Knighton’s company, Creative Water Solutions, cleans spas and pools in the St. Paul area with Sphagnum moss. The solution Knighton found with his purifying moss has sparked efforts to clean drinking water through similar natural means of kelp, seaweed, and some stone.
Utilizing 71% of the Earth’s Surface
Seawater desalination essentially just means purifying seawater. However, the actual process cannot be broken down as easily. It involves strategic locations, sand and charcoal treatments, and membrane filtration. It is also expensive. For two five-person homes, desalinated seawater goes for anywhere from $1500-$2500. The end result, though, of clean, safe drinking water is worth it, and as the technology and market develop, so too will affordable price points.
Just like in nearly every other facet of life in 2017 social media has a pervasive impact on water issues. Mainly, it has allowed important water events to be brought to the public to discuss and inspire activism. A current example comes from the ongoing Somali famine. Vine and YouTube celebrities, Jérôme Jarre and Casey Neistat activated a community of followers and mainstream names like Ben Stiller and Colin Kaepernick to raise over two million dollars worth of food and water. The effort also allowed them to partner with Turkish Airlines to transport those supplies to the victims. Similarly, last year Rachel Maddow brought attention to the Flint Water Crisis, and it snowballed to became a widely discussed issue thanks in part to social media.
It is important to keep in mind with social media and the rest of these technologies, that while this discussion is key, activism is what will continue to move the needle on water scarcity. With enough of it, we can bring down that 1.8 billion mark.