The sun plays such an important role in sustaining life on Earth, but did you know that its power can also be harnessed to help clean water?
Water is essential to human life, and it’s no mystery that the sun plays an important role in the water cycle on our planet, as water moves from clouds to rain to rivers, lakes and oceans, and back again. Scientists have discovered several ways to use the sun’s energy and the processes of evaporation and condensation to help sanitize water and make it safe to drink.
One of the simpler methods involves the use of solar stills. One of the first solar stills was developed in the 19th century when mine owners in Chile faced the problem of providing drinking water for their workers; by using a sun-operated distilling plant with a large area of glassed-over wooden frames, they could evaporate the contaminated water, recondense it and produce up to 6,000 gallons (22,712 liters) of fresh water in a single day. Read more
As we’ve said before, water is critically important to our future. It was even the subject of our fifth episode. How we can conserve water and make more efficient use of it isn’t a discussion we can put off for later — according to the UN, 783 million people don’t have sufficient access to clean water. And this isn’t just a problem for developing countries.
Drought over California.
California is facing a serious drought — perhaps the worst one the state has seen in five centuries. It’s been three straight dry years for California and scientists like paleoclimatologist B. Lynn Ingram say the trend could continue into the future. Pair that bad news with the fact that many places depend upon old urban water infrastructure in poor repair and you could have a major crisis looming in the near future. Read more
Your water feature can be as ornate or as simple as you want it to be, just make it uniquely yours
Kicking back on a deck that overlooks the ocean, a lake, river or pond is a great way to relax and unwind. There’s something Zen about watching water do its thing. The artistic arc of water from a fountain or even just the exuberant splash of robins bathing in the hollow of a stone birdbath are enough to lower your bloodpressure and give you a mellower perspective on your problems.
Water may or may not inspire wisdom, but it certainly adds entertainment value to the garden. If you’re wondering what you can do to enhance your yard, liven up your suburban deck, or add some pizzazz to your plain old patio, a water feature may be the answer.
Outdoor living has become the newest indoor expansion trick. Instead of spending all that money adding another room to your home, move the festivities outdoors for two or three seasons of the year. One small problem with this strategy is that once you’ve invested in all that outdoor furniture and lighting, there’s only so much time you can burn watching the plants grow. Adding a water feature is a reliable way to create interest and a cool focal point outdoors without resorting to dragging the flat screen outside. Read more
Just Imagine you could produce water out of thin air with no connection to any mains utility. Sounds incredible, especially if it operates where the air is very dry like deserts and steppe regions of the world. Such a device has actually been designed and the best thing about it is it uses almost no mechanical parts or complex electronics and works purely from the effects of direct solar radiation (not PV cells).
Researchers at MIT have been using a structure known as a Metal Organic Framework (MOF) to harvest water directly from the air (at humidity levels as low as 20%). This humidity level is commonly found in dry regions of the world. The prototype was able to extract 2.8 liters of water per day at an air humidity of 20 to 30%. Read more
For plenty of people, getting a drink of water on the hottest of days is not as easy as filling a glass at the tap. Instead, they walk miles to the nearest well. Or they pay big fractions of their incomes — more than the average person in a developed country pays — to have a distributor truck in water, which may not even be clean.
Only 42 percent of Nigerians have access to drinking water. The rest of the population must go directly to the source in rivers or natural storm-water reserves, which could be purified by the Slingshot
About one in six people, as of 2005, couldn’t access clean water. But no one can live without water, so it’s often that people without access to a clean water supply end up drinking water laced with chemicals or populated by disease-causing organisms, which can kill children and shorten adults’ lives.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why the World Health Organization put access to safe drinking water on its list of Millennium Development Goals, or targets to meet by 2015. But can it be done? Each pocket of people suffering water stress needs an affordable method that fits the local conditions and lifestyle.
Chlorine tablets and clay pots, boiling and cloth filters, sun barrels and rain barrels, and filter-equipped straws that can be worn on a necklace have all been tried, but some people still lack a method that works for them. Read more