Solar Water-from-Air Public Fountain

In the UAE and in many parts of the world, these public water fountains are found everywhere. There are tens of thousands of them in cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They typically pull water from the domestic line of a villa or public building such as a mosque. They provide people on the street with access to clean potable water and are an important amenity for cities, especially in hot climates.

But what if they didn’t have to pull from the municipal water supply? What if they could be mass-produced as stand-alone units? By using off-the-shelf technology available now for water-from-air systems and combining it with a simple solar power generation system, we could remove these from the city’s water supply infrastructure. This would mean hundreds of thousands of gallons per day in savings from desalination systems and depleting aquifers and would do far more than any water conservation strategy aimed at personal water use behaviors of consumption (such conservation messages are of course still vital and indispensable).

Water-from-air systems such as those available from companies like Liquid of Life and others could be integrated very easily into city-funded replacement units for these street-side fountains. They work great, especially in humid climates like those in the GCC. This is something that could be accomplished within two years time and could save cities like Dubai from having to add capacity to the desalination systems which do great harm to the fragile marine ecosystems when their super-brine wastewater outfall over time increase the salinity of the gulf waters. See here and here.

Thanks to Richard Wagner, who showed me some of his great photos of these fountains the other day which got me thinking about this subject.