Creating water out of thin air - ingenious billboard helps alleviate drinking water shortages

Using the power of technology to help ease water security issues, Peruvian ad agency Mayo DraftFCB and the University of Engineering and Technology in Lima have joined forces to create the first water-generating billboard.

Built in Lima, Peru, the innovative structure pulls moisture from the air and condenses it into clean, potable water.

One of the driest places on Earth, Lima receives less than two inches of rainfall per year yet has an atmospheric humidity of around 98 per cent - making the city an ideal location for the water-producing billboard.

The system collects water from the air, condenses it in a similar manner as an air conditioner and then purifies the water through reverse osmosis.

The billboard can generate up to 96 litres of water per day, which is stored in 20-litre tanks and dispensed via a spigot at the bottom of the structure. The billboard has already provided 9,450 litres of clean water in three months of operation.

One of the driest places on Earth, Lima receives less than two inches of rainfall per year yet has an atmospheric humidity of around 98 per cent - making the city an ideal location for the water-producing billboard

About 700,000 of the city’s residents don’t have access to clean water, while another 600,000 rely on cisterns which require filling by hand or with a pump. The billboard helps improve sanitation and health in the community, where individuals would otherwise be forced to draw from polluted wells.

The structure costs $1200 to install and runs off electricity from city power lines. The university hopes to offset operating costs through advertising revenue from the billboard.

Severe water shortages looming

“The implementation of the water billboard coincides with the timing of a January study related to climate change in the tropical Andes. A study in the journal The Cryosphere shows that the Andean glaciers, which provide fresh water for the residents of Peru, among other countries, have shrunk between 30 and 50 per cent since the 1970s,” reports the Huffington Post.

Worldwide, almost 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, according to the World Health Organisation. As one of the most pressing problems in developing nations, the unavailability of clean water is the leading cause of cholera and other deadly diseases linked with diarrhea. It’s possible that this cost-effective billboard can help alleviate illness due to contaminated water, one pioneering sign at a time.

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