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6 Solutions to the Water Shortage Crisis


By Jon Wikstrom 

California’s recent struggles with drought have been widely covered in the media of late. Everyone knows the situation there is dire.

But will this same dangerous crisis be repeated in other parts of the world?

NASA seems to think so. In a recent report, the agency pointed out that our world is running on the brink of a freshwater shortage. Giant lakes are disappearing, and the world is heading toward a future where many countries could be water insecure.

But when faced with a crisis, history shows us that humanity has an amazing ability to conquer it resourcefully, and that’s exactly what many environmental innovators are seeking to do by introducing new technology that helps businesses and individuals alike cut down on their water usage without compromising their quality of life.

1. Solar-powered water purifiers

Solar Powered Water Purifier and Sanitation System | Off Grid Energy  Independence

Hot climates suffer from water shortage the most. This is what drove an American schoolgirl to come up with a way to use solar power to purify water. When she was just 15, Deepika Kurup invented a way to use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in containers that expose it to ultraviolet radiation and cleanse the water, making it suitable to drink. She was on the Forbes’ 2015 30-Under-30 in Energy list and was even awarded the U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize for her invention.

Her invention will help to address the fact that 1.1 billion people worldwide don’t have consistent access to clean drinking water.  Using Kurup’s invention and others like it, people will be able to make contaminated water drinkable so that they don’t have to depend on outside sources.

2. Leak monitors

German utility company, Albstadtwerke, has been using new software to pinpoint leaks and send the data instantaneously to a central data center. Showers, toilets and dripping taps are known to waste water, but the biggest problem is originates from pipelines that lead into the home.

The company believes that almost a third of water is wasted even before it reaches a home. The software, Zonescan Alpha is helping utilities around the world crack down on this inefficiency and massive waste of precious resources.

3. CO2 cleaning

Carbon dioxide cleaning - Wikipedia

Water is used in many industrial applications, sometimes as a wet coolant or cleaning agent on a grand scale. Both of these activities lead to tons of waste every single year.  To give you an idea of how much, manufacturing a car requires nearly 40,000 gallons of water – just imagine how that much water could benefit a community that’s experiencing a water shortage. Fortunately, technology that would allow for water to be replaced by CO2 has evolved enough to be viable in a wide variety of industries.

CO2 cleaning involves the use of carbon dioxide in solid form, highly propelled dry ice particles out of a nozzle to clean a variety of different surfaces. The technology can be used for composite aircraft and automotive structures, cleaning complex medical equipment, and dry cleaning operations in an eco-friendly way. The CO2 required for these machines is recycled from other industrial uses, so not only does it contribute to solving the water shortage crisis, but also helps with climate change. This is a great example of an environmental solution that kills two birds with one stone.

4. Lifesaver bottles

When the Boxing Day tsunami hit Asia a few years ago, trucks had to be sent in with drinkable water since the floodwater was simply too dirty. This led Michael Pritchard to invent a special bottle that can instantly make water potable. It uses a pump to push the water through a 15-nanometer filter which cleans it of any bacteria or viruses.

Everyone from hikers to the British army has used it since.  In that time it has not only given hundreds of thousands of people clean drinking water, but it’s done so without the financial or environmental costs of delivering water to the places that need them most.

5. Showering with ultra efficiency

We’ve all gotten into a shower, turned on the tap and waited for the water temperature to be just right before we get in. The problem, according to Richard Ogodeton, is that hundreds of millions of people do this every day around the world. In aggregate, this is a lot of water wasted. To save this water Ogodeton invented an eco-friendly shower system, which can have the water to the desired temperature in less than 30 seconds, significantly cutting down shower time and reducing water wastage.

Another innovation in shower technology is from Peter Cullin in Adelaide, Australia. He came up with a device that could save hundreds of millions of liters of water every year, even if it were installed in only 1,000 homes. He calls his device the Cullector Ultra Efficient Shower, which uses a reservoir tank to collect the water normally wasted during heating up the shower, then re-filters it back at the right temperature. These ideas and more show promise in limiting water usage to better our current environment.

6. Showering without water

Can you shower without using water at all? It doesn’t even seem like a genuine question until you really look into the alternatives. That’s exactly what 17-year-old Ludwick Marishane did while traveling in Limpopo, South Africa. He found all the ingredients for a ‘dry bath’ on his Nokia 6234 mobile phone. His lotion has a blend of chemicals that get rid of odors, bioflavonoids and essential oils. The lotion can be applied right onto the skin and is as effective as taking a regular shower.

Dry Bathing can help save 4 liters of water per person which can add up to many millions every single year and help billions of people who don’t have access to water stay clean and avoid the life-threatening bacteria that’s often found in the stagnant water some of these people use to bathe.

Many experts estimate that we use over 9 trillion cubic meters of water every year as a species. The demand for water will only grow as the global population continues to expand at an increasing pace.

Water is an already-previous resource that becomes even more precious with every passing day.

The recent water crisis in California has put the spotlight on water usage but the fact is that billions of people around the world live in regions where they are forced to walk for miles to get their daily supply for drinking, bathing and living and some aren’t even that lucky.

In the coming years, it will take creative solutions like these to help our world continue to thrive in the face of this global challenge.

Image credit: Flickr/gedenfield

Everything You Need To Know About A Water Filtration System Before Buying One

Everyone is looking for new ways to help improve their health. Whether you’re dieting, working out, or simply trying to increase your water intake, it’s requires dedicated effort with some parts easier than others.

When it comes to the water you’re drinking, are you confident that you’re ingesting lead-free, healthy, treated water? Can you count on the water you’re getting from your home?

It’s time to start thinking about how your water is filtered, regardless of whether you’re drinking water at home, out and about, or in any other location. If you live in America, water filtration and clean water probably isn’t the first thing on your mind when you head to the sink to fill up a cup.

You’re not living in a developing country, so your water has to be clean, right? Unfortunately, toxic tap water is a real issue in several different cities throughout the United States, including (but not limited to), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Brady, Texas, and the well-publicized and infamous Flint, Michigan.

We’re going to lay out everything you need to know about the state of your water, water filtration, and the types of water filters that might be available to you, as well as the benefits of water filtration for you home and your family.

What Is a Water Filtering System?

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If you’re unsure about what a water filtering system is to begin with, here are the basic. In its simplest form, a water filter helps decontaminate water by either using a physical barrier, chemical process, or a biological process.

People use water filter systems for a variety of different reasons, and there are dozens of benefits of filtering your own water. For example, people will use water filters to remove chlorine and bacterial contaminants to provide better tasting and better smelling drinking water. They’ll also use them to remove lead from drinking water immediately before they drink it, eliminating the chance of a harmful substance entering their bodies.

Another benefit of water filter systems is that they provide you with clean water without racking up a huge bill from plastic water bottles (environmentally speaking, this is a much better option too).

Overall, drinking clean, filtered water can help to protect your body from diseases and lead to greater overall health. Filtered water can reduce the risk of gastrointestinal disease by more than 33 percent, help children’s’ developing immune systems grow strong, act as the last line of defense against 2,100 known toxins from drinking water, and greatly reduce the risk of rectal cancer, colon cancer and bladder cancer by removing chlorine and chlorine byproducts.

And water filtration doesn’t only benefit drinking water. In fact, filtered water should be used for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, bathing, and more. Using filtered water means there’s a healthy mineral deposit and a healthy pH in the water you ingest!

Types of Water Filters

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There are several types of water filters that are typically used, each with different mechanics and functions, but all serving the same purpose: cleaning your water supply to provide healthy, safe water. Let’s focus on a few common types.

Activated Carbon

The activated carbon filter is one of the most common household water filters. This type of filter uses activated carbon granules that attract and trap chemical impurities through an absorption process.

Activated carbon granules are based on charcoal and are very porous forms of the carbon that is created by burning wood with a reduced supply of oxygen. Charcoal, somewhat like a cross between lead and a sponge, has an internal surface area that’s riddled with nooks and crannies that can help to boost that absorption process.

The Environmental Working Group does offer one important caveat to remember when using carbon filters:

Keep in mind that carbon filters vary greatly in effectiveness. Some just remove chlorine, and improve taste and odor. Others remove contaminants including asbestos, lead, mercury and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. However, activated carbon doesn’t remove common inorganic pollutants such as arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrate and perchlorate.

Additionally, this type of filter isn’t ideal for dealing with hardness like limescale heavy metals, nitrates, fluorine, microbes, and sodium.

Here’s a helpful overview of how activated carbon works:

Reverse Osmosis

You remember osmosis from science class, right? It’s when one things absorbs another. Reverse osmosis is the forcing of contaminated water through a membrane at pressure so that the water is able to pass through, but the contaminants in the water are left behind.

Essentially, you’re making the water go against its natural inclination, to force the comaninents out of a water supply. Unfiltered water is pumped in through a plastic membrane, clean water flows through the membrane at pressure, and that semipermeable filter or membrane will catch all the contaminants in said water.

Again, the Environmental Working Group offers a helpful note regarding reverse osmosis:

Also, consumers should be aware that reverse osmosis systems waste a lot of water – they typically use three to 20 times more water than they produce. For this reason, EWG recommends that they be used for drinking and cooking water only.

Ion Exchange

Ion Exchange filters are some of the best filters for softening water. They can take hard water and make it more digestible by removing limescale. In layman’s terms, these filters are designed to split apart atoms of contaminating substances to make ions, then, then traps those ions  and releases less good ions.

These types of filters use zeolite beads that contain sodium ions. These beads, which act as filters, trap the incoming contaminants and replace them with sodium ions. Without that magnesium and calcium, your water is going to taste softer much more pleasant.


This is one of the simplest ways to purify water. While this is less of a type of filter and more of a way to filter water on your own without the use of a fancy device, distillation is still one of the best ways to filter or purify water.

Distillation involves boiling the water, but then taking things a step further to ensure purity. First, you boil water to make steam, much as you would boil it to kill the bacteria. Then you capture the steam and cool it back into water in a separate container. Because water boils at a much lower temperature than other contaminants (like toxic heavy metals), these will stay back as the steam separates and boils off, leaving you with clean water.


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Regardless of where you live (home, on the road, or when you’re camping), it’s important to keep your water as clean and filtered as possible. Water filters are becoming more and more important in a world where every day health seems to be diminishing. Remember to change your water filter every 3 to 6 months, or sooner if you notice the water flow slowing down or your water color becoming darker.

You can easily pick up a water filter at your local grocery store or supply shop, and it doesn’t have to be fancy. Even a simple $30 home filter that you put on the end of your sink faucet will significantly help,. Ultimately, it’s important that you’re putting your health first, and keeping you water clean and filtered is a big step in that direction.