Would countries fight over water?
Researchers have given their verdict
The researchers put the chances of a water war at 75 to 95% in the next 50 to 100 years.
The five most vulnerable hotspots highlighted by them are the Nile, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Indus, Tigris-Euphrates, and Colorado rivers.
When you come across stats like the following, it seems inevitable-
At the current consumption rate, by 2025, 2/3rd of the world’s population may face water shortages.
And we do not need to wait till 2025 to see its effects. People in New Delhi, India, for example, are facing a water crisis currently.
Even businesses are getting affected.
Constellation Brands in Mexico and Coca-Cola in India have both been forced to abandon plans to build new facilities in recent years due to water scarcity.
And if you think it’s a developing world problem-
The average price of water increased by 60% in the 30 largest U.S. cities between 2010 and 2019
Let’s see how these 3 startups across the world are fighting so that we can evade water wars⬇️
Water stress…With 18% of the world’s population, India has access to only 4% of global water. It has the lowest per capita access to clean drinking water. Close to 163 million Indians suffer from water scarcity. Falling groundwater levels, drought, rising demand from agriculture and industry, pollution and poor water resource management all contribute to the country’s water problem.
Renewable galore…Uravu Labs, a Bengaluru-based startup, is tackling the country’s water crisis in a unique way- by producing drinking water from the air. Their solar thermal-based device Aqua panel uses solar energy to source drinking water from the air. Most conventional water generators use refrigeration technology- condensing water vapour into water. They are not best suited for low humidity conditions and require constant electricity.
Aqua panel uses a hygroscopic (absorbing moisture from the air) device to absorb water vapour at night when the humidity is higher in many places.
Then during the day, the solar collector heats up the device, releasing the saturated water vapour back.
The vapours are then passed through an air-cooled condenser and transformed into water, which is then supplied through pipes.
If you’re not sold yet…As they do not use any groundwater resources and only use solar energy to convert the atmospheric air into water, they are not depleting any resources- making them a 100% renewable water technology company. Their modular and scalable technology can be installed on any rooftop and works efficiently even in dry and arid areas. An aqua panel is capable of providing enough water for drinking and cooking for a family of 4.
Mismatch…A lot of African nations have been struggling with water scarcity issues. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 30,000 people die each week from drinking unsafe water. This is despite billions of dollars being invested into installing 800,000 hand pumps across the region. Due to lack of maintenance, these pumps deteriorate. Hand pump technology is an outdated one and the users in these regions are expected to pool in money and handle the maintenance procedure.
A UK-based social enterprise… eWaterservices is building a low-cost and financially sustainable solution to solve Africa’s water crisis. By integrating mobile and contactless pre-paid technology, they are building micro-businesses in Africa that can supply clean water. By increasing transparency and accountability, eWater’s technology solves the problem of poor maintenance of water supply systems. This is how it works-
Each household buys an eWATERtag, registered to their household.
The retailers in each village buy eWATERcredit on their phones, which they sell to households by touching their phone to the users eWATERtag.
Once it has been read, the valve will open allowing the flow of clean water.
Teaching them how to fish…It costs a user just about 1 cent for 20l of fresh, clean water, with 85 percent of the credits going to sustainable maintenance. The cloud-based eWaterCare application tracks flow rates and sales in real-time. It highlights any unusual behaviour to the local maintenance engineer (trained by eWaterservices). They build all the taps in the country of operation. The integrated circuits and parts are shipped out while local women build the taps.
Can we combine the 2?… Rice hulls are one of the biggest agricultural waste in the world. Annually, 218 billion pounds of rice hulls are burnt globally. Wondering why am I talking about the rice hulls problem here? It would all make sense soon. So the demand for water is forecasted to exceed sustainable supplies by 40% within the next 9 years, affecting 3 billion people. 21 of the world’s top 37 aquifers are running dry and oxygen levels in lakes(a freshwater source) have declined 3-9 times faster in the last 40 years.
Green filtration products…Cleantech startup Glanris is tackling the rice and water management problems together- by turning rice hulls into water filtration media. This way, it prevents billions of tons of carbon emitted by burning rice husks. Also, it replaces the traditional water filters that use harmful microplastics for filtering water.
Their patented manufacturing process and technology for removing contaminants turn rice hulls into a customized filtration media.
The technology combines the features of activated carbon and ion exchange resin- 2 of the most commonly used filtration techniques.
This allows them to remove a wider breadth of organics and contaminants while being environmentally friendly and less expensive.
Not as effective…Researchers across the world have tried plenty of other natural materials like corn, soy, cotton, peanut shells and walnut shells to make filtration media but none were as effective as rice hulls. Through its highly effective, light-weight, non-toxic filtration media, Glanris plans to revolutionize water filtration for municipalities, businesses, homeowners and consumers.
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