According to the UN, about 60% of the world's population will be living in cities within the next 8 years - a human migration that adds more and more strain on cities' sanitation and resources. One of these many urban centers is Lima, Peru, the second largest desert capital in the world that receives less than 2 inches of rain a year. Despite its nearly nonexistent rainfall, Peru has some of the highest atmospheric humidity anywhere - 98%.
The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) and an ad agency called Mayo DraftFCBand saw great opportunity in this invisible source of water and created a billboard that can capture this humidity and turn it into potable drinking water for nearby residents.
Read on to find out how it's done.
Using reverse osmosis and a purifying process to cleanse the collected water droplets, UTEC's billboard then stores the water in 20 liter tanks. The water is dispensed at the bottom of the structure by nearby residents, who have been able to collect 9,450 liters of clean drinking water from this single billboard in just 3 short months. These residents no longer have to rely on contaminated well water or worry about where their next clean drink will be coming from.
"They could put this in different places if possible in each village, in each town… the water that gives us life," Francisco Quilca, a resident served by the billboard, told UTEC.
UN Deputy Chief Jan Eliasson says improving access to water can reduce maternal health issues, child mortality and overall poverty. With the implementation of more billboards like this one, Lima will not only be solving its water scarcity problem but many others that go hand-in-hand with it.