Two billion people on earth are without clean drinking water, and this problem will only be exacerbated by the climate crisis.
Fortunately, independent businesses are working on a myriad of differing solutions. One Israeli company, Watergen, has taken advantage of the fact that the Earth’s atmosphere contains 13 billion tonnes of fresh water and developed technology that filters water vapor out of the air.
Michael Mirilashvili, the leader of Watergen, told BBC, “A big advantage of using atmospheric water is that there’s no need to build water transportation, so no worries about heavy metals in pipes for example or cleaning contaminated water from the ground or polluting the planet with plastic bottles.”
The technology works by quickly drawing air into the machine and using condensation to produce fresh water at the low cost of seven to 15 cents per liter. The machine does use electricity, but if this can be supplied via renewable sources, the machine would have a very little environmental impact.
Water gathered from the atmosphere still faces the issue of condensing air pollution. Although lead was banned in 1999, it is still found in UK air in 2021. However, partner researchers from Tel Aviv University proved this to be a small obstacle when they were able to extract the water to a quality set by the World Health Organization.
Watergen’s technology can provide up to 1,585 gallons of water per day and has already been used at hospitals in the Gaza Strip and villages in Central Africa.