A new study published in Scientific Reports has proposed new methods of harvesting previously untapped sources of freshwater worldwide.
During the study, the team looked at 14 water-stressed locations.
The team studied the feasibility of a new hypothetical structure that can capture water vapor from above the ocean and then condense it into freshwater. The team found that developing these structures can be done sustainably and could eliminate many of the problems associated with water desalination facilities.
Commenting on the work, the study lead Praveen Kumar, civil and environmental engineering professor and Prairie Research Institute executive director, stated:
“Water scarcity is a global problem and hits close to home here in the U.S. regarding the sinking water levels in the Colorado River basin, which affects the whole Western U.S. However, in subtropical regions, like the Western U.S., nearby oceans are continuously evaporating water because there is enough solar radiation due to the very little cloud coverage throughout the year. Eventually, we will need to find a way to increase the supply of fresh water as conservation and recycled water from existing sources, albeit essential, will not be sufficient to meet human needs. We think our newly proposed method can do that at large scales.”
While Francina Dominguez, an atmospheric sciences professor, stated:
“The difference is that we can guide where the evaporated water from the ocean goes. When Praveen approached me with this idea, we both wondered why nobody had thought about it before because it seemed like such an obvious solution. But it hasn’t been done before, and I think it is because researchers are so focused on land-based solutions – but our study shows other options do, in fact, exist.”
You can find the original research here.