In desert megacity, a billboard makes drinking water from air

Can a billboard improve water access in a desert megacity?
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

Lima, the capital city of Peru, might be a coastal megacity, but being located in a desert climate, water access is a main concern for many of its citizens. With Andean glaciers -- a major water source for the city -- melting rapidly, water scarcity will continue to be a major, and worsening, problem in the future. Could billboards offer a solution to water shortage problems?

Advertising agency Mayo DraftCFB partnered with Peru's University of Engineering and Technology on an innovative way to bring fresh water to residents on the outskirts of the city who don't have good access to fresh, clean water: billboards that harvest water from the air. Take a look:

Despite getting less than one inch of rain all year, the city has a high atmospheric humidity. The billboard takes advantage of that with its five generators that capture air, filter the air and carbon, and condense it into drinking water that is stored at the bottom of the billboard. Each day, the system is able to generate 96 liters of water. I can't say for sure if this a cost-effective solution, but it's definitely an innovative one.

Meanwhile, the Peruvian government is taking major steps to improving water access by investing more than $3 billion to upgrade Lima's water infrastructure. About half of the projects will expand access to clean water and sanitation for those without. Currently, around 1.3 million of Lima's 8.4 million population either doesn't have access to clean water or rely on a water cistern.

Related on SmartPlanet:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards