More than 8 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water the world over; and more than 2 billion get their water from contaminated sources. Despite this problem, emerging technologies including solar powered purification systems are making it possible for emerging ecnomies to achieve cleaner drinking water.
An underground irrigation technology has helped 100 farmers in Tunisia to continue farming in times of droughts. Dubbed the Buried Diffuser, the technology utilizes 2 times less irrigation water than drip irrigation, while raising yields 3 to 5 times more; and ensuring water is not lost through evaporation.
It is estimated that 844 million people lack access to a clean drinking water service, 2 billion people drink water from a contaminated water source. Each year this leads to an estimated death rate of 502.000 people. Producing clean water is a very intense process that requires a considerable amount of energy and efficient technology to run the water purification process.
Three young innovators in Kenya have developed an award winning technology that harvests clean drinking water from the air, targeted at rural communities living in dry regions, and communities in urban areas lacking access to clean water. The innovation dubbed Majik Water is powered by solar energy and utilizes sponge like non toxic desiccant materials to generate water from the air.
In Northern Upper East Ghana, a water conservation technology is enabling about 400 smallholder farmers from 10 communities to farm in dry seasons. As a result they are now getting at least two crop seasons annually as opposed to one, after implementing the PAVE irrigation Technology which harvests flood and rain water, and stores it in underground aquifers where it lasts for up to 180 days.
In Kenya 17.3 million people lack access to clean water with water borne diseases like diarrhea and Cholera being the leading cause of death for children under five years. But a group of women have found a low cost method of purifying water, which is now backed by science - embracing seeds from the wonder tree Moringa oleifera.
Kenya Arid and Semi Arid lands comprise of 70 percent of total country land although they host only about 20 percent of population. These arid and semi arid areas are affected with massive food shortage, water shortage and drought, with up to 5 million people affected every year. Only 5 percent have access to electricity through the national grid. While irrigation could help, diesel and petrol powered pumps are not economically feasible. Solar power pumps, which have been proved to be cost effective in such areas due to low maintenance and operation cost can help.
There are over 500 million smallholder farmers globally, farming plots of land less than 2 ha in area. Many are struggling to make a living from farming and are looking for ways to increase productivity. Research shows that small farm productivity can be doubled by irrigation. However, many smallholder farmers struggle to irrigate their land. The solution: a sustainable method of irrigation which decouples volumes of irrigation water from volumes of gasoline or diesel fuel consumed - the SF1 solar pump from Futurepump.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organization that helps countries move to more sustainable energy options. The Agency also provides a focal point for governments from around the world to work together and share information on clean tech best practice. IRENA recently released a policy brief Solar Pumping for Irrigation: Improving livelihoods and sustainability, this brief forms part of a broader agenda focused on renewable energy opportunities in the agriculture and water sector.