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Distribution in nature

Atmospheric precipitation

Water outside of the Earth

On Earth


Water pollution

Water scarcity

"Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink" Samuel Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Water scarcity already affects every continent. Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world's population, live in areas of physical scarcity, and 500 million people are approaching this situation. Another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world's population, face economic water shortage (where countries lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers).

Water scarcity is among the main problems to be faced by many societies and the World in the XXIst century. Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and, although there is no global water scarcity as such, an increasing number of regions are chronically short of water.

Water scarcity is both a natural and a human-made phenomenon. There is enough freshwater on the planet for six billion people but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed.

Water stress versus water scarcity

Hydrologists typically assess scarcity by looking at the population-water equation. An area is experiencing water stress when annual water supplies drop below 1 700 m3 per person. When annual water supplies drop below 1 000 m3 per person, the population faces water scarcity, and below 500 cubic metres "absolute scarcity".

Water scarcity is defined as the point at which the aggregate impact of all users impinges on the supply or quality of water under prevailing institutional arrangements to the extent that the demand by all sectors, including the environment, cannot be satisfied fully. Water scarcity is a relative concept and can occur at any level of supply or demand. Scarcity may be a social construct (a product of affluence, expectations and customary behaviour) or the consequence of altered supply patterns - stemming from climate change for example.

Did you know?

-Around 700 million people in 43 countries suffer today from water scarcity. -By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water stressed conditions. -With the existing climate change scenario, almost half the world's population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030, including between 75 million and 250 million people in Africa. In addition, water scarcity in some arid and semi-arid places will displace between 24 million and 700 million people. -Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of water-stressed countries of any region.

Water researches. Paris. France

Water resources



Water steams of atmosphere


Natural sources

  1. Shungite for cleaning water

Shungite has another very important feature - it is an excellent sorbent, purifying air and water from many organic and inorganic compounds and the abundance of free radicals (as it is known that it is an overabundance of free radicals which is the cause of many illnesses.

Shungite possesses biological activity and is able to transfer this property to water. In contact with water shungite disinfects it, kills E. coli, Vibrio cholerae, neutralizes impurities of heavy metals, organochlorine compounds, ammonia, nitrates. But in our days it is very difficult in almost any, even the most prosperous in terms of ecology part of the globe, to find clean and healthy water, without impurities, without "the debris of civilization".

When you lay shungite stones in water they enrich water with fullerenes. Shungite water has powerful antioxidant properties, many times superior to the presently known antioxidants (vitamins C, E, carotenoids, etc.). Shungite stones or fullerenes are able to identiry the excess of free radicals and neutralize it, thereby purifying the water.

Fullerenes normalize the nerve processes, influencing the exchange of neurotransmitters, improving the work capacity of man and his resistance to stress. They have clearly expressed anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effect, thus relieving pain, suppressing the development of many allergic diseases and improving immunity.

Contact of shungite with water leads to the formation of water-mineral solution possessing unique medicinal qualities, in fact, finished medicines, created by nature, without chemicals, without any human intervention. The value of this "drug" is confirmed by three centuries of using.

Shungite for cleaning water

Artificial sources

Realized projects


In many parts of the world, lack of access to clean, potable water is a major issue. Water may be found nearby, but only in a brackish or polluted state. Areas close to the ocean may see miles of water, but not a drop to drink. UNICEF estimates that every day 5000 children die as a result of diarrhea caused by drinking unsafe water. The Watercone could change all of that.

The Watercone, invented by Stephan Augustin, is a conical solar still made from recyclable polycarbonate, with a screw cap spout on the top and a collecting trough in the base which catches the condensation for use as drinking water. The design is ingenious. It’s simple, cheap, and effective. The units even nest together to reduce the transportation costs.

The Watercone concept is easily understood by almost anybody within seconds, and there’s no need for technical jargon or complex directions. There are no parts to replace or maintain, and the cone and base are made from Bayer Makrolon, an ultra-tough and recyclable UV resistant polycarbonate. The base is made from recycled polycarbonate.

Simply place the cone over a pan of salty water (or any damp ground, even floating on a pool of water), leave it in the sun to evaporate, you flip it over at the end of the day, take off the cap and drink or store the water.

The Watercone site claims that one cone can produce one liter of water per-day (on average). The life expectancy is 3 to 5 years, and even when the polycarbonate gets cloudy and reduces the effectiveness of the distiller, the cone can still be used to collect rainwater.

layout of the watercone watercone1 salt. watercone work. watercone harvest. watercone people-watercone

  1. Portable solar device creates potable water

By harnessing the power of the sun, a Monash University graduate has designed a simple, sustainable and affordable water-purification device, which has the potential to help eradicate disease and save lives.

The Solarball, developed as Mr Jonathan Liow’s final year project during his Bachelor of Industrial Design, can produce up to three litres of clean water every day. The spherical unit absorbs sunlight and causes dirty water contained inside to evaporate. As evaporation occurs, contaminants are separated from the water, generating drinkable condensation. The condensation is collected and stored, ready for drinking.

Liow’s design was driven by a need to help the 900 million people around the world who lack access to safe drinking water. Over two million children die annually from preventable causes, triggered largely by contaminated water. It is an increasing problem in developing nations due to rapid urbanisation and population growth.

‘After visiting Cambodia in 2008, and seeing the immense lack of everyday products we take for granted, I was inspired to use my design skills to help others,’ Mr Liow said.

Mr Liow’s simple but effective design is user-friendly and durable, with a weather-resistant construction, making it well suited to people in hot, wet, tropical climates with limited access to resources.

‘The challenge was coming up with a way to make the device more efficient than other products available, without making it too complicated, expensive, or technical,’ Mr Liow said.

Jon Liow. The Solarball. The Solarball1 The Solarball2 The Solarball3 The Solarball - people

  1. Water from Fog

Fog Catchers Bring Water to Parched Villages

When dense fog sweeps in from the Pacific Ocean, special nets on a hillside catch the moisture and provide precious water to the village of Bellavista, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) outside of Lima, Peru.

With a few thousand dollars and some volunteer labor, a village can set up fog-collecting nets that gather hundreds of gallons of water a day—without a single drop of rain falling, conservationists say.

German conservationists and biologists Kai Tiedemann and Anne Lummerich, who run Alimón, a small nonprofit that supports Latin American development, are trying to help with the last of those problems. Since 2006 they've been working with new settlements on the outskirts of Lima to set up special nets that scoop water directly from the air.

Rain rarely falls on these dry hills. The annual precipitation in Lima is about half an inch (1.5 centimeters), and the city gets its water from far-off Andean lakes.

But every winter, from June to November, dense fog sweeps in from the Pacific Ocean.

With a few thousand dollars and some volunteer labor, a village can set up fog-collecting nets that gather hundreds of gallons of water a day—without a single drop of rain falling.

Villagers have to buy water for everything—cooking, cleaning, drinking—from trucks that drive up the steep hill every week. The residents pay ten times as much as people farther downhill, who are connected to the municipal supply. For a family of four, water can come to the equivalent of U.S. $7 to $10 a week—a huge sum in a village where family income might average about $40 a week.

When the Bellavista fog-catching project began in 2006, people from the village did all the heavy lifting and digging. They had to lug 94-pound (43-kilogram) bags of sand about 800 feet (250 meters) up the steep hill—about 15 minutes a trip—to stabilize the nets and build pools to gather water collected by the fog catchers.

Even as they worked, though, the villagers thought the fog-catching idea sounded a little crazy. "They listened to us politely, but they didn't really believe that it worked," Lummerich said.

When water started appearing, it seemed too good to be true. "At the beginning," Lummerich said, "the people from the village thought Kai carried the water uphill during the night to fill the tanks, because they couldn't believe there was so much water."

"Like Opening a Tap"

Fog collection works not by condensation, which is what happens when water vapor hits a cold surface and transforms into a liquid. In fact, the water in fog is already in liquid form—it's just in very, very small drops.

The collectors Lummerich and Tiedemann started with look like giant volleyball nets, 13 feet (4 meters) tall and 26 feet (8 meters) wide. The nets, perpendicular to the prevailing wind, stretch between pairs of wooden poles. The top of each net is 18 feet (5.5 meters) above the ground.

As wind blows the heavy fog through, tiny droplets stick to the coarse woven mesh, made of a kind of plastic netting that is designed to shade young fruit trees. The netting is easy to find—any hardware store in Peru carries it—and relatively inexpensive.

As more and more tiny droplets stick to the net, they clump together and form drops, and eventually gravity pulls the drops down into a gutter. From there, the water flows through tubes into two brick tanks and a pool—all built by villagers—which together hold more than 25,000 gallons (94,635 liters) of water.

On a good day, a single net in Bellavista can collect an impressive amount of water—more than 150 gallons (568 liters).

"It's amazing when you're up there and it's foggy and the wind comes in. Then you hear all the water start running into the reservoir," Lummerich said. "It's like opening a tap."

She and Tiedemann also designed another fog collector, with multiple layers of netting to better catch a shifting wind, which they erected in 2007. The new design has collected more than 600 gallons (2,271 liters) in a day without taking up any more space than the original nets.

Fog Catchers Harvest Air's Water in Arid Places fog-collection natural-fog-collectors constructing-fog-catchers tossing-rock-fog-catchers fog-harvesters-built

There is very much a considerable quantity of such installations in the world.

Guatemala - Tojquia 2006 - 2010 Ethiopia - Debark 2010 Chile - Atacama Desert Center 2007 - 2010 Chile - Falda Verde 2001 - 2010 Nepal 2001 - 2010 Eritrea - Asmara 2005 - 2010 Morocco - Boutmezguida (Sidi Ifni) 2006 - 2010 Ethiopia 2010 Israel 2002-2010 Chile - Chanavaya 2010 Chile - Cerro Talinay 2004 - 2005 Chile - El Tofo / Chungungo 1987 - 2002 Chile - Padre Hurtado 1999-2004 Dominican Republic - 1999-2001 Ecuador - 1992 - 1993 Guatemala - Lake Atitlán 2003-2005 Haiti - Salagnac Plateau 2001-2002 Namibia - Early Projects 1996-2001 Sultanate of Oman 1989/1990 Peru - Cerro Orara 1990 Peru - Collanac 1993-1994 Peru - Mejia 1995 - 1999 Yemen - Hajja/Mabijan 2003-2005 Yemen - Saada Governorate 2003-2005

Unrealized projects


Water collecting

Water clarification

Water storage