Can India's growing problem of water scarcity be resolved by tapping (potable) water from the air? Well, an initiative is already underway in water-scarce Uttarakhand.
As part of this initiative the Uttarakhand government plans to set up six state-of-the-art machines in various altitudes of the Uttarakhand hills. "These machines will suck in the atmospheric humidity, instantly transforming it into pure potable water, said State Water Resources Minister Prakash Pant adding, if the experiment proved to be a success it
would be replicated elsewhere in other hill areas of Uttarakhand, most of which now reel under acute water crisis in summers.
And what's more: The mechanical process of transforming the atmospheric vapours into potable water will cost `hardly anything. ``It (process) won't cost much because the machines to be used for the purpose are likely
to be powered by solar energy, said Pant.
Explaining that machines to be used in extracting water from the atmospheric vapours will function on the scientific principle air conditioners function he said those (machines), however, would emit far less green house gases, compared to air conditioners.
``Air-conditioners too keep rooms cool by transforming atmospheric vapours into droplets of water but they (Air-conditioners) emit a lot of greenhouse gases, said Pant adding, compared to air conditioners, machines that would extract water from the atmospheric humidity would generate only a fraction of pollution (greenhouse gases).
Saying that the water machines to be installed in various high altitude areas of Uttarakhand would produce would be purer than normal potable water he said these results came to light, thanks to a machine that was installed recently at the Jal Sansthan office of Dehradun on an experimental basis.
As many as six such machines would be set up in various altitudes of the Uttarakhand hills, as part of a pilot project, according to the Minister who said each of these machines, which would cost around Rs 9 lakh would have a capacity of producing a maximum of 500 litres of water.
Maintaining that a proposal in that connection had been submitted to the finance department for its clearance he said the work of implementing the pilot project would be initiated as soon as funds for the purpose would be sanctioned.
Pant listed one more benefit of extracting water from the air. According to him, the humidity through which water is extracted using machines is, in fact, an inexhaustible resource.
``It's an inexhaustible resource because the quantity of water in the air is 10 times more than what is available in our rivers, said Pant.
``That humidity is an inexhaustible source of water also becomes evident from the fact that the air never goes dry despite crores of air conditioners sucking water from the atmospheric humidity day an night.