Water: The Scarce Resource

“Water, not unlike religion and ideology, has the power to move millions of people. Since the very birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to water. People move when there is too little of it; people move when there is too much of it. People move on it. People write and sing and dance and dream about it.

People fight over it. And everybody, everywhere and every day, needs it. We need water for drinking, for cooking, for washing, for food, for industry, for energy, for transport, for rituals, for fun, for life. And it is not only we humans who need it; all life is dependent upon water for its very survival.” Mikhail Gorbachev in 2003

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Water is becoming more and more a scarce and valuable resource as population and consumption rise. Many human factors influence the availability of water, including dams or other engineering, population, and consumerism – or our water use on an individual, business, and government levels. Evaluation of these factors, as well as technology and action to support healthy water supplies, is necessary to gain control of the situation. Далее

Creates self-filling water bottle prototype

Creates-self-filling-water-bottle-prototypeThe Namib Desert beetle lives in an area that only gets half an inch of rainfall per year, and so it draws 12 percent of its weight in water from the air to quench its thirst.

NBD Nano co-founder Deckard Sorensen was inspired by the beetle to the point that he conceptualized a self-filling water bottle, which he hopes to bring to the market by 2014.

Every morning, the beetle climbs to the top of a sand dune, faces away from the wind, and ensures that water condenses in hydrophilic areas of its back. The water then flows to a storage area in the beetle.

To mimic nature, Sorenson layered a surface with hydrophilic and hydrophobic coatings, used a fan to pass air over the surface, and managed to get water to condense. This eventually led to the design of a conceptual self-filling water bottle. Далее

Amazon Waters: Conserving Wildlife, Securing Livelihoods

mazonasWhen most people think of conservation in the Amazon, images of rainforests – burned and bulldozed for cattle pastures and plantations – come to mind.

And, indeed, in the past two decades some 325,000 square kilometers of rainforest in the region have been lost. Fewer of us remember that the largest river system in the world originates in the towering Andes and the more modest elevations of the Brazilian and Guiana Shields.

Water flowing through the Amazon Basin nourishes millions of people and innumerable and incredible diverse species of wildlife. Covering nearly 40 percent of South America, these waters exceed in volume the world’s next six largest rivers combined. Далее

Water Recovery System, International Space Station

With the arrival of the new water recovery system (WRS) in November 2008, the International Space Station (ISS) moved closer towards its planned increase in crew and mankind took another small step towards the exploration of deep space.

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Reducing the need to be resupplied from Earth, the system will decrease the quantity of water and consumables required to be launched by about 6.8t a year and help make it possible for twice as many people to be accommodated on board. Далее

Water, water, anywhere?

Artist's impression of the planetary system around the red dwarf Gliese 581. (Courtesy: ESO)

Artist’s impression of the planetary system around the red dwarf Gliese 581. (Courtesy: ESO)

It’s a major discovery: a planet orbiting a red dwarf star some 20.5 light years away with Earth-like qualities, including a radius only 50 per cent larger and a mass about five more than our own planet.

But the potential of the planet to hold liquid water on its surface is what makes the discovery, unveiled Tuesday by the European Southern Observatory in Germany, so intriguing.

Though the planet is 14 times closer to its star than Earth is to our own sun, the star it orbits — the red dwarf Gliese 581 — is smaller and colder than our sun, meaning the planet lies in a potentially ideal temperature zone.

“We have estimated that the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid,” explained Stephane Udry, the lead author of the paper reporting the result, in a statement.

“Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth’s radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky, like our Earth, or covered with oceans,” said Udry, from the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland. Далее