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Water & Sanitation

This Tool Makes Water Appear Out of Thin Air

A start-up in Arizona has created an at-home water-generating technology that could be a breath of fresh air for 844 million people who lack clean, safe drinking water around the world.

That’s because Zero Mass Water’s rooftop system, already serving a few families and businesses in Arizona and California, pulls water from the air — no matter the climate or humidity level.

“We want to guarantee access to safe drinking water for every person in the world and fundamentally change the human relationship to water,” Zero Mass Water founder Cody Friesen told Forbes.

Take Action: Urge Governments And Businesses To Invest In Clean Water And Toilets

The company’s hydropanels, which resemble solar panels and contain absorbent membranes, can extract about 5 liters of water from the air every day.

On sunny days when the panels are most effective, the system can produce the equivalent of  12 to 20 16.9 oz. bottles of water, which means the Zero Mass Water can both produce water and reduce plastic waste.

According to the Zero Mass Water website, the system “is built to create and maintain the highest quality drinking water,” and adheres to Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

Read More: Could Fighting Over Water Actually Cause WWIII?

"You take a breath of air and you own the air you breathe, and yet water has its own supply chain," Friesen told Mind Body Green. "Our vision is perfect water for every person, in every place."

Global Citizen shares that vision and campaigns on ensuring everyone around the world has clean drinking water. You can take action here.

There are still some kinks to work out.

The system remains expensive — about $4500, including installation — but Friesen said the system pays for itself in five years because it eliminates the cost of bottled water for families who don’t drink from the tap.

The system could benefit communities with contaminated water systems because it is cheaper than replacing aging pipes that leach toxins into the water supply.

Read More: 23 Countries With Best and Worst Water Supplies

Zero Mass Water’s product is the latest to hit the market, but it is not the only tool that enables people to generate their own clean, drinking water.

“Fog harvesting” nets have helped communities extract water from humid air in regions like the mountainous coasts of Chile and Peru and scientists have recently developed a practical way of extracting water in arid climates. These technologies, which use solar heat and an absorbent material for trapping water, can help people produce their own clean drinking supply in regions where water remains scarce.