The International Food Research Institute states that currently 40 percent of the world’s grain production and one-fourth of the global economy are at risk due to unsustainable water use. According to the United Nations SDGs, more than 844 million people currently lack access to basic drinking water. In addition, more than 4.5 billion people lack safely-managed sanitation services, including toilets, sewers, and wastewater, while 2.3 billion people lack access to even basic sanitation services. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.7 billion children contract diarrhoeal diseases every year— it is the second leading cause of death of children globally— which are preventable with safe water and sanitation. Water is not only essential for sanitation, drinking, and cooking, but also necessary for agriculture, industrial activities, recreation, and healthy environmental ecosystems. The International Food Research Institute states that currently 40 percent of the world’s grain production and one-fourth of the global economy are at risk due to unsustainable water use. Additionally, access to water is often at the heart of conﬂict between different nations and among ethnic groups, particularly among vulnerable populations. The Paciﬁc Institute has tracked more than 650 incidents of water conﬂict globally.40 In this sense, the water global grand challenge is closely linked to the food, health, security, governance, and environment GGCs.
Exponential technologies can help address the water GGC on a few different levels. Several companies are working on extracting drinkable water from air. Zero Mass Water technology absorbs water from thin air with the help of energy generated by solar panels; it can extract about one gallon of fresh water per day. Watergen, which is powered by traditional energy sources, can produce about ﬁve gallons of safe water daily.While these are promising developments, further work is needed to create systems that can generate more water at lower costs.41 Additional developments in energy generation and storage could hold the key. We are also seeing the growth of the desalination industry, with more than 16,000 desalination facilities now operating worldwide. Unfortunately, these systems require high levels of energy and also produce a lot of brine as well as other chemicals and metals—this process presents an opportunity for innovators to improve the systems.
Exponential technologies may also play a role in reducing water waste in the agricultural industry. Some of the new robotic farms, such as Iron Ox, report that they reduce water inputs by more than 90 percent. Scientists have been working for years to genetically engineer plants to make them more drought resistant. The satellite company Planet Labs has published a number of papers on how their images can be used in precision agriculture as well as assess the well-being of rivers and other freshwater sources. The housing community, ReGen Villages, is looking to build tech-infused communities to better manage water and wastewater in the housing sector. Across all industries, researchers are also looking at the use of artiﬁcial intelligence to better predict and optimize water systems. For example, in Australia, Melbourne Water is using past data and artiﬁcial intelligence to predict water usage and calibrate pumps, which also saves energy usage.
Exponential technologies are particularly making a difference in lower-income countries. For example, India’s Center for Rural Information and Action is partnering with Hamilton Labs to help install 100 million new 3D printed toilets across India. Water is an interesting GGC to solve because there are so many angles that must be considered to truly address scarcity, from housing to agriculture to industry, using a range of exponential technologies.
DGTAL.AI Inc.16192,Coastal Highway,Lewes,Delaware
UN identified Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) , which need attention of world communities, Technological innovations offer great solution to address these. We at DGTAL.AI discuss SDGs and Technological solutions under single platform for the benefit of tech enthusiasts and talents and add value towards the solutions, thereby serving the cause of a billion people.DGTAL.AI is not for profit initiative.
Copyright © 2020, DGTAL.AI Inc.
DGTAL.AI News & Views of Exponential Tech world