Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Water is life and without it no life can be sustained in the world. Quantity and quality of water make a big difference in the lives of people. According to WHO more than 4 billion people, half of the population on this earth, are affected by diarrhea related diseases, most of them due to lack of accessibility to safe drinking water and 1.1 billion are in dire need of assured drinking water without which life is hard to sustain. There are about 1.8 million deaths attributed to water related diseases, mainly diarrhea. On an average a person needs 150 -200 liters of water per day for indoor use, though in India it is much less due to the traditional low water-intensive living styles. With few towns and metros having even a semblance of protected water supply system, a vibrant water based industry is flourishing in the country. For drinking water alone there are more than 1000 bottling units licensed and a strong water treatment industry offers systems that can purify water on domestic as well as industrial scale.

The term aquagenesis refers to generation of water de novo and water can be created only if the two elements oxygen and water are made to combine under favorable conditions, though in practice the method is not a commercially viable one. There is a water specialist company in the US known as Aqua Genesis Co which offers water descaling plants based on electromagnetic waves for preventing scale development in flow pipes and water based appliances and they even have domestic models costing less than $ 400 for attaching to the intake point before entry into the main supply line into the house. But it is not aquagenesis in real term as existing water source is only cleaned up. How ever it is a clean technology that is useful to prevent clogging of water lines due to scale deposits as a result of high mineral contents in the intake water. Such waters cannot be considered pure enough for drinking purpose unless treated further.

The existing water treatment technologies based on chemical, ion- exchange resins and membrane systems(RO) for potable water are already working in millions of house holds though all of them have their own limitations. Conventional ion exchange technology is based on use of significant quantity of sodium chloride for resin regeneration and increases the sodium load in the water. Chemical treatment contributes to presence of the chemicals in water and environmental pollution. Reverse osmosis method wastes almost one third of the water intake and disposal of mineral concentrated reject fraction can pose some problem. Replacement of the selective membrane can be expensive too.

In a novel approach for producing potable water without depending on any outside water sources, air has been used to extract its water in a pure form by condensation and domestic models are already available for getting "water out of thin air"like a magic! This is indeed an aquagenesis event since water is created from an invisible source, the air for all practical purpose. The system depends on the humidity in the air which can be made to "precipitate" under right conditions and the equipment involved is a simple device for sucking air, condensing the water content and drawing the pure water for direct use. The equipment providers claim that the water produced by this system is as pure as steam-condensed water and a built-in ozonizer sterilizes the water to make it infection-free. What is not clear is the influence of air quality on the water though all gaseous contaminants can be expected to escape along with the exited air. If cost is not prohibitive the technology may become popular especially in high humidity areas where water content in the air is very high. The power requirement for running the compressor is another factor that will influence buyer sentiments in going in for this system. Probably GOI can think of a national program to provide pure water, at least for drinking purpose, in communities having no access to safe water sources using this technology. Integrating solar power system with water extraction technology can help in setting up small sized plants in thousands of villages which do not have either assured supply of water or power at the moment.


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