VIDEO: Arctic ice decline; oil spills; Brazil droughts: today’s water news

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“By showing how the colours – the types of ice – change in the region, the animation emphasises how quickly the Arctic is changing as the planet warms up.”

The Daily Mail displays a shocking time-lapse video showing just how drastic the ice melt in the Arctic has been in 27 years.

“Rio de Janeiro State Environment Secretary Andre Correa warned on Friday that the region was experiencing the worst water crisis in its history.”

Areas of Brazil is experiencing extreme water lows, reports Euronews, after the worst drought in 80 years affected the region this summer.

“The city of Lewisburg says an estimated 3,975 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into a tributary of the Greenbrier river late on Friday night when a tanker truck overturned on Route 92.”

About 12,000 people have been left without water in West Virginia after a huge oil spill, USA, reports the Guardian.

 

 

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Scientists create water-repellent material; UK’s flood risk areas identified: today’s news round-up

 

“The surface could be used for everything from preventing ice from developing on airplane wings to creating self-cleaning toilets, the researchers say.”

Scientists at the University of Rochester, New York, have managed to create a material that completely shuns water, according to Live Science.

“Pressure on fresh water resources may be the main global threat in the next decade, but the world is failing to mitigate the risk and avoid a crisis, according to a survey of leaders from business, government, universities, international organisations and NGOs by non-profit foundation the World Economic Forum (WEF).”

A water crisis is deemed to be the biggest threat facing us in the next decade, reports SciDev.

“The most endangered areas by parliamentary constituency include Boston and Skegness, Cleethorpes, Gainsborough, Louth and Horncastle, Kingston upon Hull, Brigg and Goole, Sittingbourne and Sheppey on the east coast.”

The most flood-prone areas are revealed across the country, as reported by the Express.

 

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Floods in Malawi; drought fears in NZ; Irish water problems: today’s water news round-up

malawi

‘Mother-of-three Eilish Doyle, whose home in the Sperrin Mountains was without water for six days, said it left her feeling as if she was in a “Third World country”.’

Up to 9,000 people are being forced to drink snow after disputes in Northern Ireland have left them without any running water, reports Sky News.

‘Gift of the Givers, an African nongovernmental organization specializing in disaster response, said Malawi was facing “probably the greatest flood disaster in the history of its existence.”‘

Tens of thousands of people in the southern tip of Malawi have been cut off by deadly floods, leaving them without food, clean water or access to health care, reports CNN.

‘Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is expected to visit the parched South Canterbury area in the next few weeks as concern mounts that it and some other regions may be heading for a serious drought.’

 

New Zealand’s South Island is experiencing worryingly dry weather, writes Radio NZ.

Main image: paulshaffner at Flickr Creative Commons

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Rethinking the Worth of Water – by William Janssen, CEO of Desolenator

sea

‘Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink’. The words of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in his poem over 200 years ago could not ring truer today.

In most developed countries, a steady supply of clean water is piped into our homes. At the end of the month a bill arrives, and given that we pay for water per cubic metre or cubic gallon, the amount of water we actually consume is virtually free. Around the world, people expect water to be provided to them via a well or pipe and at a very low cost. After air (still free in most places), water is the most essential element of our daily lives and is perceived as a basic right.

The global population is growing exponentially, from 7 billion today rising to over 9 billion by 2050; water consumption is doubling every 20 years, twice the rate of population growth; and by 2025, demand will exceed supply by 56 percent. This is intensified by climate change – 2014 was the hottest on record with severe droughts and rainfall deficits recorded on every continent.

In less than 20 years, the UN estimates that half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas and the crisis is already unfolding. Water scarcity and shortages limit economic development, threaten political stability and exacerbate rural poverty in emerging and developing countries. Currently, over a billion people do not have access to clean, safe water, resulting in the death of nearly 4,000 children per day. In Amman, Jordan, there is running water only one in ten days and in rural areas of Saudi Arabia, water scarcity and salinity destroy agriculture. In Pakistan, waterborne diseases cause 40 percent of illnesses, preventing children from going to school, parents to miss work and resulting in burdensome healthcare bills. For other communities, their only access to water is via the weekly visit of the water truck or taking hours from their working day to visit wells. As attention focuses on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, increasing accessibility to clean water will improve health and hygiene to assist in curbing the spread of infectious diseases and reducing child mortality.

It is time to revalue the cost we attach to water and devise new approaches. What is the use of charities digging wells, only for them to run dry in a few years due to the depletion of groundwater? Water needs to be extracted from the earth in the most sustainable way.

Our planet is drenched in over 300 million trillion gallons of water, yet around 97 percent is oceanic salt water and 1.5 percent remains locked up in icecaps and glaciers. Less than 1 percent is usable by humans for drinking, sanitation, cooking and growing crops.

Water is a finite resource and desalination, the process of transforming seawater into drinking water, seems to be the most viable. Today, only 0.7% of the world’s water comes from desalination and existing technology is expensive and inefficient. The most common process is reverse osmosis whereby water forced through a membrane separates out the salts and other impurities. Some countries have adopted large-scale desalination plants though these require significant investment alongside vast amounts of energy powered by fossil fuels. In developing countries, large-scale water treatment facilities usually leave residents with a dismal lack of services. Failure stems from breakdown of communication and coordination in planning and implementation, high maintenance costs and lack of ownership leading to the degradation of existing plants.

Decentralized systems allow for more locally-focused answers and those powered by renewable energy sources are fast-growing due to environmental and socio-economic factors. Decentralized, desalinated water avoids investment in infrastructure, reduces unaccounted for water and minimises carbon emissions.

desolenator

We at Desolenator are working on bringing a new solution to the market that addresses these issues, powered by solar energy. Our affordable, stand-alone, family-sized device converts seawater into 15 litres of drinking water per day. Requiring minimal consumables and maintenance, Desolenator will desalinate water at a lower cost per litre than any system at this scale available today over its 20-year lifetime.

This year, we’re planning an extensive field trial in an arid coastal hamlet in Tamil Nadu, Southern India. One hundred families will receive a Desolenator unit for their house and will report on how they enjoy the water delivered daily by the device and what problems they encounter.

To make this possible, please support our fundraising campaign and assist in giving water independence to a billion people.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/desolenator-transforming-sunshine-into-water

William Janssen, CEO of Desolenator

 

Main image: Glyn Lowe at Flickr Creative Commons

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Indiegogo: five other campaigns we love

As you know, Desolenator is being crowdfunded through indiegogo. Indiegogo is full of brilliant, pioneering projects (and some less so!), with new ones being added all the time – so we’ve done a round-up of five of our favourites on the site at the moment. If you can support any of these great projects, please click the link!

1. Loka Foundation

The Loka Foundation is seeking sponsors so that children in a school-deprived area near Varanasi, India can get a good education. They’re asking for $400 per year to see a child through, and this includes all school materials. A modest, worthwhile cause trying to make the world a better place through education.

2. ChargeTech smallest phone charger

This tiny phone charger plugs into the mains and charges twice as fast as a standard iPhone charger. It’s not just for Apple fans, though – with two USB ports, you can use it for any of your USB-compatible devices. This could be very useful to take away travelling!

chargetech

3. Sahodaran –  LGBT rights in India

Sahodaran is a safe space in Pondicherry, India for gay, transgender and other people of marginalised sexualities to take refuge. It wants to extend its services by offering shelter to those displaced because of their sexuality, and reach out to organisations to try to dispel harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Legislation and social climate in India do not tend to favour LGBT people, so this is vitally important work.

4. Solar phone chargers in Liberia

The Green Neighbors Education Committee, Inc. is seeking funding for materials to kickstart a solar-energy business – Sustainable Solar Energy of Liberia. Having recently trained 27 Liberians in designing, assembling, installing, maintaining and repairing solar devices, Sustainable Solar Energy will empower them to turn their skills into a full-time job.

solar cells

5. Rainwater project, Kenya

A group of friends went to Marafa, Kenya, on a volunteering trip – but upon leaving the country, they were unable to get the local people they’d met off their minds. So the friends have decided to try and provide clean water to two schools using a technique known as rain harvesting. This is an instance where we think Desolenator could really help, too.

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Bill Gates drinks water made from faeces; Michigan water crisis; milk more expensive than water in UK: today’s water news round-up

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“New research shows how, based on price per litre across the big four supermarkets, fresh own-label milk sold in four-pint bottles has become cheaper than the average price of larger packs and multipacks of bottled water.”

According to the Telegraph, fiercely competitive supermarkets have driven down the prices.

“Residents have been complaining about the color, smell and taste of Flint water and several boil water advisories have been issued starting in the summer months due to the presence of coliform bacteria in the tap water.”

World Socialist Website reports on the rising fears that the water supply is becoming undrinkable in Michigan, USA.

“The Microsoft founder said he wanted to begin sending processing plants around the world after tests later this year.”

A video has emerged of Bill Gates drinking a glass of water made from processed human waste to showcase new water technology, writes the BBC.

 

Main image: Mark Hillary at Flickr Creative Commons

 

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Featured perk: coconut lamps!

Hey everyone,coconut lamp

We just wanted to let you know about our latest featured perk – for $65, you can get your hands on a stunning USB-powered lamp made from a coconut!

Many underprivileged women make their living this way, so while making a valuable contribution to water independence you can also feel safe in the knowledge that your money provides an income to someone in Kerala. If you’d like to learn more, take a look at our 47-second video of the working women in action.

As always, thanks for your ongoing support!

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