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This billboard makes clean drinking water


The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru wanted to catch the attention of potential applicants for 2013 enrollment. They wanted to do a billboard in Lima, Peru, but had to catch the attention of people passing by.

The city of 7.6 million people is situated near the driest deserts in the world. However the air is packed with moisture. Humidity averages 83%. Rain may not fall, but people are always surrounded by water.

The university teamed up with the ad agency Mayo DraftFCB. They decided to take all the moisture in the air and turn it into drinking water. An inverse osmosis filtration system turns the saturated air into water that people can drink right out of the faucet.

Matt Peckham reported on the project back in March for TIME. He explains a bit more:

According to a 2011 The Independent piece ominously titled “The desert city in serious danger of running dry,” about 1.2 million residents of Lima lack running water entirely, depending on unregulated private-company water trucks to deliver the goods — companies that charge up to 30 soles (US $10) per cubic meter of H2O, or as The Independent notes, 20 times what more well-off residents pay for their tapwater.

It is not really a water solution give that it requires power to run and likely is less cost effective than other solutions, but it goes to show that there are some neat ways to solve some big challenges.


About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]