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FEATURE

Creating Drinking Water from Air





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According to U.S. Government estimates, at least 36 states will face water shortages in the next five years, as available supplies decrease due to drought, rising temperatures, population and inefficient management.

Tensions created by mandatory conservation restrictions have turned neighbors against each other by reporting to the water police suspected illegal watering based on a lawn that was simply too green.

However, there is some good environmental news. Companies and individuals have developed technologies to capture water vapors in our air to create drinking water or to capture and collect dew.

These water makers may not end the severe water shortage, but they can
decrease the demand on our shrinking potable water supplies by providing useful conservation measures for drought-ridden communities. Water makers are providing drinking water to some of our troops in Iraq and have the capability to provide entire small villages with potable water when natural supplies are nonexistent or polluted.

Water makers are not a new technology. Fans of George Lucas's Star Wars may remember the home planet for the Skywalker family and Ben Kenobi was Tatooine, where the poor inhabitants were mostly moisture farmers who harvested water vapor from the atmosphere rather than growing crops by using a moisture vaporator. The harvested water was then used to recharge groundwater basins and reservoirs.

Back on planet Earth, it was theorized that the ancient Crimean city of Feodosiya [founded as Theodosia by Ionian Greek colonists from Miletus in the 6th Century BCE] used an air well constructed of stacks of stones as condensers and terra cotta pipes connected to wells and fountains to supply the city with water.

In the early 1900's,
rock air wells shaped similar to a bell with lots of "windows" were constructed to capture atmospheric humidity. The theory was that the air would be chilled by the rows of slates inside, deposit its moisture on the slates, and then the moisture would trickle from the slates to a collecting basin at the bottom of the well.

Many other water maker ventures were tried over the years with varying degrees of success. One interesting example is the use of
underground tunnels constructed to collect humidity in desert areas, such as Afghanistan, which are now used to evade US troops...

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