With the global growing population, and millions forced to walk more than a mile to collect their daily supply, new ways to find water is critical.
Here are some novel ideas that just may prove beneficial in this quest:
1. Growing glaciers
More than half of the world’s fresh water is stored in glaciers, 15 times more than all of the world’s lakes, rivers and wetlands combined. As a result of climate change, almost every glacier studied has been found to be shrinking and meltwater is simply lost to the rivers and sea. An Indian geo-engineer Chewang Norphel, who lives in Ladakh on the edge of the Himalayas diverts meltwater onto little plateau where it freezes. He has created 10 artificial glaciers this way, which can be used for water in the dry summer months.
2. A bath without water
At the age of 17, Ludwick Marishane was sunbathing in the Limpopo province of South Africa. His friend said idly to him: “Man, why doesn’t somebody invent something that you can just put on your skin and you don’t have to bathe.” Marishane researched the idea, eventually formulating a lotion called DryBath. Marishane says that DryBath – a blend of essential oils, bioflavonoids, and odour-eliminating chemical tawas – saves four liters of water ever session, a total of a million liters in total.
3. Ultra water efficient shower
We are all familiar with the moment. You get into the shower, turn the tap, then avoid the water until the temperature equalizes. For Peter Cullin, from Australia, said, “Every minute of every day, in millions of homes around the world quality fresh drinking water is lost to the drain from inefficient showers.” To solve the dilemma, Cullin created his “Cullector Ultra Efficient Shower”, a screw-in device that captures water at the beginning of a shower and and feeds it back into the system. If installed in 1,000 showers, Cullin says the device would save 200m liters of water a year.
4. The lifesaver bottle
“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink”, wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge famously in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This paradox struck Michael Pritchard while watching news reports of the Boxing Day tsunami a decade ago. Clean water was being brought in on trucks as the floodwater was too dirty. To solve this problem, he invented his “lifesaver” bottle, which uses a pump to force water through a 15-nanometer filter, cleansing it of all bacteria and viruses. Since its launch, the Lifesaver Bottle has been used by hikers, aid companies and the British army in Afghanistan.
5. Rainmaking with lasers
In the 1840s, James P. Espy thought burning large fires in the American west would bring rain to the east. In the 1950s, there were attempts at cloud seeding. Now, the idea of rainmaking has returned to the scientific agenda. The idea this time is to fire lasers into the atmosphere. Properly-directed pulses of light have been shown to help ice sublime and vapor condense. The World Meteorological Organization recently debated the future use of this new technology. One of the possibilities is to use lasers to induce rain at times of drought.
6. The fold up toilet
Along with the shower, the toilet is one of the home’s greatest source of water waste. As much as seven liters can vanish in a single flush and, wanting to improve matters, two students from the University of Huddersfield have invented Iota, the folding toilet. Iota’s design is markedly different to the traditional toilet and, as such, makes more efficient use of water. Gareth Humphreys and Elliott Whiteley, Iota’s inventors, claim that if installed it could save 10,000 liters per person every year.
7. Leak monitoring
Despite all the water wasted inside the home – dripping taps, inefficient toilets and showers – utility companies acknowledge that as much as a third is lost to leaks before it even arrives. Tackling this problem is Zonescan Alpha, a software that pinpoints leaks and relays data back to a control center. It works by embedding sensors throughout a network and has been successfully trialled by Albstadtwerke, a German utility company, which says it helped reduce waste by 2m liters.
8. Solar powered water purification
Hot climates suffer the most from a lack of water, making the invention of 16-year-old American, Deepika Kurup, all the more intriguing. Hailed as one of the USA’s brightest young scientists, this year Kurup was awarded the US Stockholm Junior Water Prize for her ingenious solar-chemical purification process. This involves exposing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to ultra violet radiation from the sun to produce a photo catalytic composite that cleans water. “This technology is green, safe, cost effective and easily deployable,” said Kurup.
Are there any environmental water engineers who can bring their expertise to new technology and make a real difference in this vast world we live in?
Students consistently rank themselves as prepared in areas where employers do not agree. The area where students and employers are the closest to being aligned is in staying current with new technologies. But in a number of key areas (oral communication, written communication, critical thinking, being creative), students are more than twice as likely as employers to think that students are being well-prepared.
Some argue that the schools need to update their techniques. Meanwhile; what are you doing to practice the “soft skills”?
There’s a saying that the only things that are certain in life are death and TAXES. For the vast majority of humans, the process of filing your personal or business taxes is something that is feared, dreaded, hated, avoided – you get the picture…
While e-filing has been in place in many countries for some time, here’s a story from BizTech Africa that highlights a less developed part of the ICT globe. While it may not be news where you reside, this change is monumental for Gabon. Technology makes its way across the planet at different paces, and can bring about events with impacts that ripple across continents.
The initiative, named et@x (https://www.etax.dgi.ga/home.seam) is aimed at helping Gabon catch up with other African countries and establishing Gabon’s reputation as providing high quality services for their business sector.
Are YOU part of an electronic revolution that hasn’t reached beyond your university? How will you bring it to market and where? You may be the life-changer that the world is waiting for!
How refreshing to see the success of a start-up when competing in the big leagues against General Electric and Philips. The Kickstarter campaign raised 10 times what was being sought for development of this product – a good indication that the inventor was onto something big!
This is one example of how smart people with great engineering and design skills can succeed in a tough game.
What skills do you have that will set the world alight?
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