technology, water availability, water treatment

Is the Water Pyramid a Water Wonder?

Today, I found out via Gender and Water Alliance about a new technology to produce distilled water in arid areas. It’s called the Water Pyramid,and it was developed by a fellow named Martijn Nitzsche. There are two of these pyramids in India – one in the Kutch Desert of Gujarat and the other in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. The pyramid stands about 30 feet high. Inside the pyramid, sunlight is used to distill brackish water for storage. At full capacity, the pyramid may produce up to 1,000 liters of water each day. There are still some problems to be worked out including the cost of the water and ensuring equitable access to the water. But it’s a step in the right direction, right.


Above Photo: Sunny Sebastian and The Hindu Newspaper

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agriculture, drinking water, economy, international, south america, sustainability, water treatment

Natural Water Treatment in Ecuador

A village in Ecuador was recently recognized on World Water Day 2008 for an innovative yet simple approach to water treatment using aquatic lentil and water lettuce.

The people of San Rafael de la Laguna, an indigenous community of 4,700, constructed a water treatment facility along the edge of Lake Imbakucha to offset polluted discharge from local tourist facilities and agricultural practices.

The water treatment facility removes up to 90% of the contamination, and the clean water is then used for irrigation of reeds. Local artisans create furniture, crafts, and paper from the reeds, and sell the products through the Totora Sisa Cooperative.


Photo above is Lake San Pablo (Imbakucha) in Ecuador.

audio, drinking water, international, outreach, rainwater, research, sanitation, sustainability, water treatment

‘Global Water Challenge’ Competition

Ashoka’s Changemakers and Global Water Challenge have partnered to open a worldwide search for ideas and projects that, when scaled-up, have the potential to transform the provision of sanitation and water.

All entries are due by Wednesday, March 26, 2008 6:00 pm EST (21:00 GMT).

Currently, over 149 entries have been received from 45 countries with ideas such as:

  • Affordable household filters that remove arsenic and microbes.
  • Biosand water filters in India.
  • Implementation of water harvesting ponds in Ethiopia.
  • Rooftop water harvesting programs.
  • Solar water-distillation for potable water.

Listen to this excerpt on the ‘Global Water Challenge’ Competition from today’s edition of Marketplace!

drinking water, international, technology, water desalination

Floating Nuclear Water Desalination

Yes, you read correctly. Floating nuclear water desalination, and it is one of many proposed solutions to the coming water crisis. These reviews on Earthtimes and C-Net delve into a few details about this type of project, but essentially the concept is to harness excess heat produced in the nuclear process to run desalination plants (while the whole contraption floats in the ocean).

Immediately, many problems arise in my mind as I evaluate this concept:

  • What about the contamination of water supplies with radioactivity?
  • Nuclear power plants are not environmentally sustainable. Should we even continue to utilize nuclear energy?
  • Is it wise to locate nuclear power plants in the ocean on a floating device? What about emergencies or the collapse of the structure? Would that mean drifting nuclear contamination?
  • Is a floating nuclear reactor in the middle of the ocean a secure place for nuclear materials? Would there be a circle of submarines acting as security for this sudo-building?

These are just a few of my questions, and I am sure that you can come up with many more.


Not an actual nuclear desalination plant, for illustrative purposes only.  Photo gimped by Moon.

drinking water, india, water treatment

New Delhi Water Utilities Shut Down

Two major water utilities servicing New Delhi, India shut down last week due to high and untreatable ammonia concentrations in the Yamuna River. Many in New Delhi, an approximated tens of thousands of people, were without water for three days straight, and uncertain supplies of water for hours at a time over the weekend.

Yamuna Sacred
Large industries dumping waste-water into the Yamuna upstream of New Delhi, are thought to be the culprit for unexpected rises in ammonia concentrations. Water problems are not unusual in New Delhi, as the New York Times so succintly states, infrastructure is in disrepair, sources are polluted, population is on the rise, and the government is blamed with poor water management. The Yamuna River, the central source of water for New Delhi, has been battling pollution problems for many years.

Check out this recent NPR piece on the Yamuna River.

Print: Yamuna Maharani holding a garlands of lotus petals near the Yamuna River, artist unknown.

international, technology, water trade

Israel’s Stance and Expanding Water-Technology Markets

If you pay attention to international water issues, you will soon realize the small country of Israel is slowly attempting to make a name for itself in the field of water technology. In fact, Israel recently hosted an international water technology conference, WATEC, from October 30 to November 1 of 2007.

Israel, though lacking in natural water resources, is exporting its water technology across the globe, billing itself as the “Silicon Valley of water technology,” in the words of Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer.

Israel hopes to increase export revenues from water technologies to 2 billion US dollars by 2010. The Israeli government has just launched a program to maximize technical knowledge of desalination, water purification, irrigation systems, water treatment, reclaimed water, water security, and water infrastructure.

Given the increase in global water scarcity, Israel is one of many entities ready to step into an open-economic playing field to double their dollar in the field of water technologies.

This report, Growing Markets for Water and Wastewater Technologies, issued by BCC Research, likely explains markets available for growth in the water technology sector, but specifics of the report are not known because I could not afford to pay the $4850.00 to purchase a copy (yes, the water technology industry must be growing…). However, one of the report highlights states:

The expenditures for municipal water and wastewater applications were $8,066 million in 2005, $9,575 million in 2006, and $11,290 million in 2007. They are expected to grow at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.2% and reach $39,709 million by 2012.

We can apply the economic model of supply and demand very clearly to the water scenario. As demand for water increases, the price of water (water technologies, etc.) on the world market will also increase. Consequently, there will be an accrual of entities hoping to profit on the commodity of water, alas we are seeing such happening presently.

Author’s Postscript: This post highlights global water technology markets and Israel’s current standing in such world markets. However, there are many critical water issues relating to Israels continued occupation of Palestinian territories in areas of the region with greater access to water.

Additionally, Israel maintains water technology, yet continuously fails to supply Palestinians with assistance for development of water infrastructure or access to reliable water supplies.  In the near future, I will attempt to address these issues.