Fight The Good Fight: 4 Companies Taking On The Water Crisis
Water underpins every aspect of life in the 21st century and, without it, everything would come to a grinding halt sooner rather than later… which is why the water crisis is fast becoming the most talked about aspect of the climate emergency, with every country around the world expected to experience their own water-related issues in the very near future, if they aren’t doing so already.
Finding solutions to the many and varied challenges that the water crisis presents is essential, of course, but part of the problem is that different regions have their own unique set of issues to sort out, which means that there’s no universal strategy that can be adopted.
It’s also likely that solutions will have to be adapted over time as the needs of different countries evolve in line with climate change and rising global temperatures, which are expected to drive more frequent and more intense extreme weather events on a global scale, including heavy rainfall, flooding and drought.
Although it can feel overwhelming when you consider the scale of the challenge that lies ahead, the good news is that there are lots of businesses and organisations out there who are keen to rise to the occasion and see what can be done to tackle the water crisis head on.
Here are just a few of the latest startup ventures fighting the good fight and doing their part to make 21st century society more sustainable and resilient so that it can continue operating successfully, without taking its toll on Mother Earth.
India is one of the most water-stressed countries of them all, home to approximately 17 per cent of the world’s population but with access to just four per cent of all freshwater sources, official figures show.
As such, it’s becoming increasingly urgent for the country to find solutions to the problem and ensure equitable access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation for all.
Enter Uravu Labs, an India-based company dedicated to providing the country with 100 per cent renewable water through its Aquapanel device that features solar thermal technology to produce sustainable drinking water.
Supplies are sourced from the air itself, which contains water equivalent to six times the world’s rivers combined, with resources replenishing themselves naturally every eight to ten days.
Only renewable energy from the sun is used to power the technology, while no water is wasted throughout the process, unlike other options like reverse osmosis, where more water is wasted than is purified.
Facing a similar predicament to India is Chile, with projections indicating that this is one of the most vulnerable nations in the world where global warming is concerned.
According to Earth.org, rainfall has been below average in the central parts of the country every year for more than a decade, with increasingly frequent heatwaves and record high temperatures leading to a megadrought. Consequently, more than half of the 19 million people who live in Chile experience severe water scarcity conditions.
Various measures are now being enacted around the country to help ease pressure on freshwater supplies, including desalination, taking moisture from the air and building artificial glaciers to tran surface runoff in the Andes… but the o2 Company has been focusing on preventing evaporation from reservoirs to address the region’s water scarcity problems.
The o2 product the startup has developed is an amphipathic monolayer, which can be poured over the water mirror to prevent water loss due to evaporation, while controlling the proliferation of microalgae. The solution doesn’t mix with the water and doesn’t leave any traces behind, so it won’t have an impact on local wildlife and biodiversity.
A recent study published in the Nature Communications journal found that the evaporation rate for reservoirs around the world has risen by 5.4 per cent every decade since 1986, with those sites included in the study now losing 235 trillion metric tonnes of water annually… which suggests that focusing on evaporation could yield seriously positive results.
Of all the industries around the world, agriculture is the most water intensive of them all (and one of the biggest water polluters), so if we are to build resilience into food production for the future, finding new and innovative ways to reduce the sector’s water consumption and improve its water management is essential.
Figures from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development show that agriculture irrigation accounts for 70 per cent of water use around the world.
In addition, the industry is responsible for a huge amount of water pollution, thanks to pesticide use, fertiliser runoff and livestock effluent, all of which contribute to the pollution of both waterways and groundwater alike.
As such, products like Agrobiogel are certainly very welcome developments indeed, helping to reduce reliance on dwindling freshwater supplies so they can be safeguarded for future generations.
This particular product is a bio-based super water-absorbing hydrogel that’s 100 per cent wood based and works to absorb and store water when it rains, releasing it back to plants slowly during periods of dry weather.
It can be used on its own or in combination with irrigation techniques to help farmers improve their water footprint, while reducing labour and energy consumption. It can also help to save up to 40 per cent of water resources by reducing irrigation frequency. The wood-based material also degrades into humus, which can help increase soil fertility and convert non-fertile soil (including sand!) into something productive.
Some one in three people in Africa are affected by the water crisis, a situation that’s being exacerbated by factors like climate change, population growth and increasing urbanisation.
One interesting approach to addressing the issues of water stress and scarcity in the region involves the use of mobile technology and the Internet of Things to enhance and improve water infrastructure.
Eco-conscious company eWaterPay Services believes that the long-term solution to Africa’s water crisis is sustainable water management, with customers able to pay for their water either via the app, mobile money, remote payment or with cash.
They then load their eWater tag with credit and tap it on a local Smart Tap to collect their prepaid water. Credit is then deducted as the water flows.
The revenue generated from this way of paying for water is used to maintain the Smart Tap network and help the company expand its sustainable operations. Remote technical monitoring software is able to identify operational and performance issues in the system to ensure rapid response times if there are any problems.
And the technology also works in the most rural parts of the region, areas that may have poor data connectivity and low bandwidth mobile connections, which means that everyone no matter where they are can buy credit for water.
This way of working also ensures that no water is wasted, since customers are paying for it and are more accountable for what they’re using. The efficient system also only dispenses the exact amount of water that’s been paid for, which helps to reduce leakage rates as well.
Are you looking to compare business water at the moment? Get in touch with the SwitchWaterSupplier.com today to see how we can help you reduce your water footprint this year.