Access to clean drinking water is a basic human need, but our existing water infrastructure is being put under increasing strain due to climate change. Changing weather patterns mean rainfall is less reliable, which in turn means rivers and dams will be a less resilient supply of water in the future.
To tackle this issue, innovative technology is being developed to tap in to other sources of clean water. Fog-nets are being placed in areas where fog can be trapped and the water used for drinking and farming. Schemes that use hydroponic bioreactors that clean wastewater using micro-organisms so it can be recycled and used again are being trialled.
Technology is also letting us access the largest source of water on the planet - the sea. But to use seawater we need to remove the salt, a process called desalination. However, this process uses a large amount of energy. Existing desalination plants often use fossil fuels to supply that energy. Solar energy is one alternative that's less harmful to the environment as it doesn't produce carbon emissions.
The sea can also be used to supply the energy, as well as the water. The motion of the waves can be used to generate electricity. This electricity can then be used to pump seawater ashore, and to power desalination plants, providing resilient infrastructure to supply drinking water to local communities.
Water Hub at Emory University
Oneka technologies' vision is to be the reference as the most sustainable source of drinking water for coastal regions. They allow organizations and isolated communities to access the drinking water available within the oceans while breaking the dependency on fossil fuels for such a vital resource and preserving the environment’s natural resources.
The FogNet Alliance (FNA) was set up in August 2017 in Munich by WaterFoundation and Munich Re Foundation.
The intention and aim of the FNA is to build up a practical network of researchers, water-experts, GOs and NGOs:
- for mutual advice
- for cross-border-knowledge sharing
- for promoting fog net technology
- for further investigating the potential of fog net projects
- for finding consulting, financial, or local support
By 2025, we plan to reduce Emory water use by 50 percent, including eliminating drinking water use for heating, cooling, toilet-flushing and other non-potable uses. The WaterHub is a critical part of meeting this goal.
Emory University Water Hub
The WaterHub at Emory is a water recycling system that uses eco-engineering processes to clean waste water for future non-potable uses like flushing toilets.
Installed in 2015, it is the first system of its kind in the United States. Emory’s WaterHub is capable of recycling up to 400,000 gallons of water each day–nearly 40 percent of Emory’s total campus water needs.