saving water

With climate change really starting to bite we are beginning to hear a lot more about water shortages and severe droughts in the developed world as well as across Africa and less well off parts of Asia. California is in the grip of a drought that will soon cripple their economy, on of the largest in the world. They ship vast amounts of drinking water into the worst affected areas and are only beginning to think about more sensible options like recycling grey water and collecting rain. They are also finally, after a decade of drought, looking at changing their incredibly thirsty and inefficient rice, alfalfa and almond crops. For example, they ship about one hundred billion gallons of water in the form of alfalfa leaves to China every year… It might sound a little cynical but when rich countries are hit by climate change issues, money will flow to research and development of new ideas.
Meanwhile, sensible solutions are regularly popping up. Some, as mentioned above, like reusing grey water rather than dumping it into the ocean, and collecting rain water should have been happening for years now. Others are brand new and will find applications all over the world as our weather continues to get odder every year. A team of scientist and engineers from MIT in the US has come up with a way to take the salt out of seawater using solar power. This has been a bit of a holy grail for water sustainability and has always been really costly and inefficient. The new units are cheap, environmentally sustainable and portable, like another solar idea that creates fresh water and power.
We often have a tendency to think big; big means results, big means progress. But really, thinking small seems to be the way forward in areas where water is a major issue.

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