Oceanside Star: Water out of thin air

Via: Water out of thin air / Oceanside Star, January 23, 2014

A Vancouver company wants people to consider getting cheap, potable water from a widely available source: air.

Splash Water For Life has created two atmospheric water generators: one for industrial use and one for home use.

The residential water generator looks like your typical water cooler, except there is no big blue bottle on top and it’s not connected to the building’s water supply.

“The air goes into an air filter at the bottom of the machine and the water gets sucked out of it [through condensation],” the company’s Elliot Mashford told a group of curious residents at Errington Hall on Monday. “Water then gets pumped through five filters, including UV filtration.”

Air quality has no effect on the generated water quality, thanks to the many filters.

Mashford and Splash Water’s Karson Hutchinson were in Errington at the invitation of Arrowsmith Water Management owner Larry Crawford, who said he was blown away by the technology.

“It’s going to be very important technology,” he said.

Mashford and Hutchinson call it “disruptive technology” because it can stop people from relying on bottled water.

The residential water generator can produce up to eight gallons of water per day. The water is recirculated throughout the day to keep it fresh.

The generator runs on both electricity and diesel fuel at a cost of between 3-8 cents per gallon.

The industrial model can produce up to 11,365 litres of water per day.

Splash Water For Life executive vice-president and inventor Phil Fraser came up with the idea during a board meeting a decade ago.

“He saw somebody dump the water from a dehumidifier in the room and thought there should be a way to use that water,” Hutchinson said.

Fraser raised $5 million in financing over 10 years while he worked on successive models. After putting together the 18th model he felt confident enough to go to market.

The residential model is priced at about $1,000, while the industrial model’s price varies according to specifications. The filters need to be changed every year or so at a cost of less than $200.

The only catch is the water generator can only be used in regions where the relative humidity is between 40 per cent and 100 per cent.

“Eighty per cent of the world’s population lives in regions where the machine could work all year,” Mashford said.

On Vancouver Island, he said, the relative humidity rarely drops below 80 per cent.

The machine’s only byproducts are warm and cool air, which can be used to regulate the temperature of a room.

“At our North Vancouver showroom, we used it to control the temperature in our showroom,” Mashford said.

Atmospheric water harvesting has next to no effect on the environment, he said. If every home on Earth used the water generator, it would cause only an estimated 0.0002 per cent drop in water vapor levels in the atmosphere.

The company started selling the generators about 10 months ago. One of the machines is part of a permanent display at the Telus World of Science in Vancouver.

For more information, see http://www.splashwaterforlife.com.


McKinsey Q : Consequences of “business as usual” scenario vs various paths to sustainability.


Oct 2011

As overfishing destabilizes marine ecosystems around the world, fisheries are finding themselves in rough waters. Data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicate that 30 percent of all fish stocks are now overexploited (beyond their maximum sustainable limits) and an additional 50 percent are fully exploited (at or close to those limits). Their erosion and eventual collapse would pose an economic threat not only to fishers but also to everyone else whose livelihood depends on fisheries, which (according to the FAO) provide employment for 180 million people and account for a significant part of the animal protein consumed globally, particularly in developing countries. With 2008 exports that some experts estimate at more than $85 billion, fish and fishery products rank among the most widely traded agricultural commodities in the world, in a value chain the FAO says may generate $500 billion a year.

A number of studies have shown that fisheries could make a significantly larger economic contribution if they were managed to their maximum sustainable yields. The World Bank puts the lost revenues at $51 billion a year; other estimates range from $46 billion to $90 billion. But though establishing sustainable fisheries is clearly desirable and necessary, only limited research has explored in detail the challenges of the transition, particularly the economic implications for different participants.

The McKinsey report, Design for Sustainable Fisheries—Modeling Fishery Economics, finds that the transition to sustainable fisheries will be challenging for three main reasons:

First, it typically requires a reduction in levels of fishing and changes in fishing practices, so short-term financial losses usually percolate through the value chain. Participants who lack alternatives or a longer-term interest in a fishery may be more concerned about losing short-term harvests than about driving a fishery to collapse.

Second, even when a fishery becomes sustainable, the economic and other benefits may be unevenly distributed among participants.

Finally, although sustainable fishing usually calls for data gathering and adequate management, in many areas these are hard to implement. Lacking good indications of a fish stock’s health, even people with the best intentions may overfish.

To help address these challenges, McKinsey collaborated with experts from the University of California Santa Barbara. The researchers devised a methodology to compare the biological and economic impacts of different transition pathways to sustainability for specific fisheries and applied it to three case studies. Detailed field research uncovered the problems of stakeholders and the value chain dynamics, and in-depth modeling explored the biological and economic consequences of various management scenarios.

To highlight the significantly different possibilities, the researchers compared the consequences of a “business as usual” scenario with those of various paths to sustainability. This approach can help align the interests of different stakeholders and provide them with an optimal solution based on the study of detailed biological and economic scenarios.

Read an executive summary or download the full report.

Time: Why the World May Be Running Out of Clean Water

By Bryan Walsh, Oct. 18, 2011

Earlier this month, officials in the South Pacific island nation ofTuvalu had to confront a pretty dire problem: they were running out of water. Due to a severe and lasting drought, water reserves in this country of 11,000 people had dwindled to just a few days’ worth. Climate change plays a role here: as sea levels rose, Tuvalu’s groundwater became increasingly saline and undrinkable, leaving the island dependent on rainwater. But now a La Niña–influenced drought has severely curtailed rainfall, leaving Tuvalu dry as a bone.

“This situation is bad,” Pusinelli Laafai, Tuvalu’s permanent secretary of home affairs, told the Associated Press earlier this month. “It’s really bad.”
So far Tuvalu has been bailed out by its neighbors Australia and New Zealand, which have donated rehydration packets and desalination equipment. But the archipelago’s water woes are just beginning — and it’s far from the only part of the world facing a big dry. Other island nations like the Maldives and Kiribati will see their groundwater spoil as sea levels rise.

Texas, along with much of the American Southwest, is in the grip of a truly record-breaking drought — even after days of storms in the past month, Houston’s total 2011 rainfall is still short of its yearly average by a whopping 2 ft., or 60 cm.

Australia has experienced severely dry weather for so long, it’s not even clear whether the country is in a state of drought, or more worryingly, a new and permanent dry climate that could forever alter life Down Under.

“Climate-change impacts on water resources continue to appear in the form of growing influence on the severity and intensity of extreme events,” says Peter Gleick,

one of the foremost water experts in the U.S. and head of the Pacific Institute, an NGO based in Oakland, Calif., that focuses on global water issues. “Australia’s recent extraordinary extreme drought should be an eye-opener for the rest of us.” (See photos of the world’s water crisis.)

Volume 7 of the Pacific Institute’s regular report on global water usage, The World’s Water, comes out today, just in time to address the squeeze of droughts, the increasingly apparent impact of climate change and the threats facing our relatively scarce supplies of freshwater.

The sweeping report is a reminder that clean water is vital to life — as Gleick points out, more than 2 million people die each year from preventable water-related diseases — and that on the whole, we’re not doing a very good job of husbanding that resource. There’s even a risk here that parts of the U.S., especially the arid West, may have passed “peak water” — the point at which it becomes essentially impossible to increase supply.

Potential water shortages are one more reason to try to reduce carbon emissions and blunt the worst impacts of climate change — a warmer world is likely to further dry out already arid regions, even as extreme rainfall intensifies in already wet areas. But however severe the effects of climate change become, we’re going to need to use water much more efficiently than we do now: the world’s population is expected to pass the 7 billion mark by the end of this month, and more people will need more water. “New thinking about solutions and sustainable water planning and management, better data, case studies and efforts to raise awareness, are all needed,” Gleick writes in The World’s Water(Read about radioactive water in Japan.)

Read the rest of the article

Veolia Water Launches Interactive Web Site Examining Water’s Economic, Environmental and Societal Impact

Press Release Source: Veolia Water On Wednesday May 18, 2011

CHICAGO, May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Veolia Water today launched GrowingBlue.com, a data-driven resource that is designed to help municipalities, businesses and consumers gain a better understanding of today’s and tomorrow’s global and local water challenges and best practices. Focused on nature’s essential but often forgotten element – water –GrowingBlue.com uses a variety of tools, including animated maps, infographics and case studies, to provide a visually compelling, user-friendly representation of the current state of water in 180 countries. The site also includes possible water availability scenarios in 2050 and the intrinsic link between water and economic prosperity, societal stability and environmental sustainability.

Urban, domestic, industrial and agricultural sectors worldwide are competing for increasingly limited water supplies, and communities are being forced to reconsider the future of their economic and population growth. Currently, 2.5 billion people (36 percent of the world’s population) live in water-stressed regions, while more than 20 percent of the global GDP is already produced in risky, water-scarce areas. According to new data presented on the GrowingBlue.com site, almost half of the world’s economy and 4.8 billion people, roughly half the world’s expected population, could be located in regions facing water limitations by 2050.

GrowingBlue.com consists of three primary sections:

The Growing Blue™ Tool – A one-of-a-kind summary of the current state of water in 180 countries worldwide, as well as an initial focus on 50 U.S. states and major cities, which translates complex data gathered from a number of resources into a series of animated maps and benchmarks. Facts and figures accompanying each map provide analysis and rank the region’s water stress; municipal, agricultural and industrial water use; and condition of the current water delivery infrastructure. The information, including all data in its original spreadsheet format, is packaged into a PDF for water management officials and government leaders to download and use as a resource.

2050 Scenarios – Presents different economic, social and environmental scenarios that communities and companies worldwide could face in 2050 based on the implementation of sustainable water management practices versus “business as usual” approaches.

Implications of Growth – A candid, data-driven assessment of water’s economic, environmental and social impact that includes real-world examples of the costs, trade-offs and potential solutions to a variety of water challenges.

Veolia Water, in collaboration with Global Water Intelligence, was the main underwriter of the site, in consultation with industry colleagues, scientists, academia and non-governmental organizations, such as Clean Water America Alliance and the International Food Policy Research Institute.

AWWA launches The Future of Water report

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) announced today the publication of The Future of Water: A Startling Look Ahead. As sweeping and transformational changes are heading our way in the not-too-distant future, this ground-breaking book takes a serious look at how the world will soon value water, use water, and access water.

Using his extensive experience in the water industry, Maxwell presents likely scenarios for the broad trends that will have a significant impact upon future water challenges worldwide–population, economics, energy, climate, and pollution. He discusses how the actions of individuals, investors, water utilities, industries, and nations can actually change the future of water.

“The Future of Water is sobering and exhilarating at the same time. It’s sobering as Maxwell and Yates detail just how water touches so many aspects of modern life, and how dire the situation might be if nothing changes. However, this book is also exhilarating in the fast-paced way it examines the future of water from our own kitchen sinks to massive dams in China.—Bill Owens, former governor of Colorado

Topics covered in The Future of Water include:

The future of water use at home
In the future, lawns will be much smaller and may use a grass species that can live on common seawater. Clothes washers may use a cup of water per load–or no water at all. Dishwashers may use bursts of steam-infused air and ultraviolet light to clean and sanitize dishes.

The future of agricultural water use
70% to 80% of all water consumption on the planet goes into agriculture–to watering the plants and animals grown for food. The aquifers that supply all that water are gradually drying up. As it becomes scarcer, water will inevitably cost more and drive up the prices of other products. As farmers become more innovative, packaging may soon say, “Irrigated with natural rainfall, no fossil waters used.”

The future of industrial water use
As its cost increases, water will become a far more critical input or decision factor in all manufacturing and industry. Water will increasingly be considered a factor of production in the same way that labor, capital, or energy cost inputs are today. Old industrial cities in the rainy northeast U.S. that have been shrinking may experience revitalization in the future, as water-intensive industries move there.

The future sources of water
The ocean represents an unlimited source of water for seacoast cities that can afford desalination. In the rest of the world, wastewater and stormwater reuse may become commonplace to provide “new” sources of water for drinking, energy production, agriculture, and industry.

The future of water storage
It is hard to overstate the role that dams have played in the economic development of the U.S. Now, America is building very few new dams and, in fact, is tearing down many old dams. On the other hand, China and Africa are dam-building with intensity. How will the U.S. meet its water storage needs with fewer dams? What do these new Chinese and African dams–some the biggest ever built–mean for the future of water?

The future of water utilities
Treatment costs will continue to increase in response to ever-stricter water quality regulations for both water and wastewater. Water rates will rise to generate cash for more effective treatment technologies and escalating underground pipe-replacement programs. Small utilities may consolidate for cost-savings.

The future of water business
Private companies are lining up to deliver innovative, advanced solutions to the challenges of water scarcity, storage, treatment, and distribution. It is impossible to define but taken as a whole, water is probably the world’s third largest industry, after oil and gas, and electrical power. Most experts place the size of the commercial water market at between $500 and $600 billion per year worldwide, and still growing.

About the Authors

Steve Maxwell has provided strategic consulting and investment services to the water industry for 20 years and has managed dozens of mergers and acquisitions in the industry. He is the editor and author of The Business of Water, theannual Water Market Review, and hundreds of articles on water resources and business issues. He holds advanced degrees in Public Policy and in Geology from Harvard University, and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Earlham College. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Scott Yate sis a writer, consultant, and entrepreneur. After graduating with a journalism degree from New York University, he has worked as a writer at newspapers and magazines in New York, Connecticut, and Colorado, winning numerous regional and national awards. He lives in Denver with his wife, son, and dictionary collection.

AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. AWWA is the largest organization of water professionals in the world. AWWA advances public health, safety, and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the entire water community. Through our collective strength, we become better stewards of water for the greatest good of the people and the environment.

Envl Solutions magazine: Global water scarcity poses risk to Canadian supply chains


April 18, 2011 – What would happen if water became scarce in a region that Canada depends on for imports? How would Canadian businesses adapt to shortages in the inputs they need to produce goods and services domestically? Do businesses have the tools needed to manage this risk?

These are some of the questions that Canadian businesses need to be asking themselves as the global economy becomes increasingly interconnected and water risk emerges as a prevailing issue.

In a landmark UK study, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Water Disclosure, 47 per cent of respondents were unable to identify whether their supply chains are subject to water-related risk. For many sectors, supply chains are central to understanding and managing water risk.

“The Study shows us that businesses are not mapping risk by identifying how much water their suppliers use and if those suppliers are operating in water-stressed regions. This knowledge is vital in order to adequately assess business risk,” said Anthony Watanabe, founder of the annual Canadian Water Summit, the country’s first national, multi-disciplinary water conference. “If organizations fail to plan accordingly and acknowledge what we are seeing as a growing business threat, the result could lead to instability and lost economic opportunities.”

The Study warns that increased competition for water in water-stressed areas (particularly the U.S. and Asia) may lead to restrictions and a rise in water prices.  This may affect the availability and cost of Canadian imports that rely on water for production. The majority of Canada’s imports come from the U.S. and China and include machinery, equipment, metals, plastics, chemicals and automotive products, all of which are used to produce goods and provide services domestically.

Canadian companies should be engaging their procurement teams to work with suppliers and assist them with managing water on an ongoing basis. The completion of an annual supply chain water-risk map is also seen as a best practice in an era of increasing global water scarcity.

CDP Water Disclosure will present an analysis of water data from the world’s largest companies at the Canadian Water Summit on June 14. The keynote address will explore water measurement, management, risks and opportunities as they relate to Canadian industries.

The Summit will enable corporations, government and NGOs to build a stronger understanding of the linkages between water and the economy to enhance Canada’s capacity to address water challenges in the 21st Century.

IEEP: Water scarcity is a serious and growing problem in a number of EU Member States

Water scarcity is a serious and growing problem in a number of EU Member States   via: Environmental Expert

EU water law has traditionally focused on water quality issues. However, the introduction in 2000 of the Water Framework Directive has provided the first coherent legal tool to address water scarcity and this has been supported by further policy aimed directly at water scarcity.

However, there are also many local policy issues which need to be addressed, such as the patterns of agriculture and upgrading water distribution networks. Some issues are also outside of the control of most authorities, such as changing household size and population demography.

This presents major complexities in the policy landscape. Therefore, not only must a range of policies for water scarcity be considered for each country or region, but there must be a clear understanding not only of the opportunities afforded by those policies, but also their limitations. Such policies must include investment in innovation, new infrastructure, water saving technology, implementation of full cost recovery for water supply and, not least, strict regulation.

The complexity of the policy environment and the complexity of the dynamic social and economic interaction with hydrological systems present a major challenge for addressing water scarcity. Meeting this challenge, therefore, requires a partnership between EU, Member State and regional authorities as well as with the public and other stakeholders.

Read more