Tag Archive for Water Crisis

“Super Sand” Cleans Dirty Drinking Water with Graphite Waste

Billions of people lack access to clean drinking water and researchers are constantly searching for cost-effective ways to purify water for rural villages and developing areas. A team of researchers has come up with just such a possible solution using “super sand,” or sand coated in an oxide of graphite.


Using sand to purify water is already an old strategy, but researchers from Rice University in Texas think that by coating it with graphite, the “super sand” will purify water more quickly and effectively than ever before. The BBC reports that coarse sand doesn’t purify as well as fine sand, but fine sand purifies very slowly as water percolates through. The new process could harness the best qualities of both. Read more

Common Kitchen Ingredient Helps Clean Drinking Water

Solar water disinfection (SODIS) relies on the freely available ultraviolet and infrared rays of the sun, which can disinfect by killing pathogens that contaminate water. The process is as easy as leaving a clear plastic bottle of water out in the sun for six hours.


If clean water is that easy, why are so many people, especially young children, dying from diseases contracted by drinking unclean water? There is a major obstacle to effective use of SODIS: if the water is muddy or murky, pathogens can hide in the shadows of the particulates, avoiding the death-rays of the sun. Read more

Solar Bag Purifies Water While You Walk

Access to drinking water is a major issue in the developing world, especially in Africa, where dirty water kills more people than violence. Solar water purification is a tried and true method of using UV rays to kill harmful bacteria and viruses in water, and we’ve featured a good number of designs that harness the process (see a few at the left). The Solar Bag, created by Ryan Lynch and Marcus Triest is another in the genre that stands out.


The idea is pretty simple: fill the bag with 2.5 gallons of water, sling it over your shoulder, and let the sun do its work while you walk. Lynch and Triest say the idea takes into account how far some people need to walk to access even dirty water. Within six hours, the water in the bag is safe to drink. Read more

5 Documentaries You Must See to Understand the Water Crisis

There’s a lot to know about the world’s water crisis–as you can tell from the month of posts we’ve been doing on just this one topic. But if you’re new to the discussion, catch up in one weekend with these five documentaries. From in-depth background on the political, social, and economic factors that are causing the crisis to personal stories from people affected by it, you’ll understand the problem in a whole new way.

water-documentaries-you-must-seeWater Voices

This seven-episode set (don’t worry: each is only about 22 minutes) highlights the way the water crisis affects everyday life in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Kiribati, Philippines, Thailand, and Tonga. Watch as a community joins together to rescue a coral reef in Fiji, as women in India fight shortages by finding new ways to transport water, and as a handful of other men, women, and children stand up to claim enough clean, safe water for themselves and their neighbors. Read more

New “water chip” promises simple, portable, membrane-free water desalination

A recent breakthrough in desalination technology has led to the development of a new method for removing the salts from seawater, one nanoliter at a time.


Our limited supply of fresh water is in high demand, and as we try to cope with “peak water”, one of the strategies is to work toward making desalination technology more efficient, cheaper, and less energy-intensive. Having an affordable, simple, and effective way to turn seawater or other briny water sources into clean drinking water could mean the difference between life and death in many parts of the world. Read more