Water is becoming a more pressing issue in the developed world. However, this is not a new concern for other, less developed countries. For centuries, certain places have struggled to get safe drinking water.
According to a United Nations report, up to 20% of the world’s population lacks access to safe drinking water.
It may be available, but it is frequently infested with disease, and drinking it can be dangerous.
How is water made?
Water is the most researched chemical compound in history, and its constituents, hydrogen and oxygen are among the most abundant elements in our universe.
Each hydrogen atom has one electron. An oxygen atom possesses six electrons, which form a nearly full shell, with just two extra electrons available. Because of the oxygen atom’s resultant strength, significant effort is required to overcome its energy barrier and enable it to accept more electrons.
Hydrogen is a very flammable gas, and oxygen contributes to combustion. It wouldn’t take much to create this force. All we need is a spark and bang! We have access to water. The electron orbits of the hydrogen and oxygen atoms have been joined.
But we also have an explosion, and if our experiment was large enough, it might be lethal. The Hindenburg tragedy in 1937 exemplifies the catastrophic power of pure hydrogen. The Hindenburg was a hydrogen-filled airship, and its explosion resulted in the release of an estimated 160 metric tons of water and the deaths of 36 persons. Later, the fire was triggered by an electric spark generated by static charge buildup on the airship.
Because there was a lot of oxygen in the air outside the airship, it reacted quickly with the hydrogen within, causing a fatal explosion.
How could we safely make water?
To make enough water to alleviate global water scarcity, we must first manufacture highly purified hydrogen and oxygen. If this is not done, the resultant water will be polluted.
While these technologies are now available, they are very inefficient and costly. We cannot produce sufficient quantities of the elements with the required purity.
Even though we know how to manufacture water, we have yet to find how to make water safe and on a large enough scale to alleviate global water shortages. We don’t yet know how to induce and contain the massive explosions we’d need safely or how to create water without causing explosions.
Harvesting water instead
While there are many barriers to manufacturing water, several solutions are being developed to help alleviate worldwide freshwater shortages.
1. Purifying water
Because of natural or man-made pollution and contamination, a huge portion of our pure water stays undrinkable. The water might be made safe to drink by purifying it with filters to remove pollutants and decontaminants to destroy organic microorganisms.
We now have the technologies and capability to purify water one bottle, home, or individual at a time, but we do not have effective systems in place to filter water on a big scale for whole cities or communities. However, these technologies are being developed and refined in water-scarce regions around the world, and we may soon have a reliable, cost-effective, large-scale water filtration system capable of reversing the harm caused by pollution.
2. Desalinating water
Approximately 97 percent of the water on the planet is saltwater. Removing salt and minerals from seawater is a potential large-scale solution to water scarcity in places of the world where there is a significant, continuing lack of freshwater.
Today, Kuwait has 100 percent mechanically desalinated water, and more than 300 million people worldwide drink desalinated ocean water.
Desalination is contentious because it is costly and takes a big amount of energy, thus placing it out of reach of the poorest people, who typically need it the most.
Desalination also generates trash, which is highly salty mineral brine. Returning massive amounts of brine to the sea might have far-reaching environmental implications.
3. Getting water from the atmosphere
Depending on the weather, the volume of water vapor in our atmosphere varies. When it’s hot and humid, evaporated water can account for up to 6% of the air we breathe. It can drop as low as.07 percent on cold, dry days.
Several new models of devices that employ turbines to cool water vapor in the air as clouds have been developed. When the vapor cools, it condenses and settles as water on the turbine.
These devices efficiently capture water from the sky, producing pure rainwater on demand. However, large-scale models of these devices do not yet exist.
These devices may have unanticipated environmental repercussions because atmospheric water vapor is part of the global water cycle. Draining a cloud may be analogous to damming a river, diverting the water away from its intended destination.
How is water broken down?
Water splitting is a chemical process that breaks down water into oxygen and hydrogen: 2 H2O → 2 H2 + O. Efficient and cost-effective water splitting would be a technical breakthrough that might serve as the foundation for a hydrogen economy based on green hydrogen.
Will there ever be a shortage of drinkable water?
While our globe will never run out of water, it is important to remember that pure fresh water is not always accessible where and when humans use it. More than a billion people do not have access to safe, clean water. Furthermore, every drop of water we use is recycled through the water cycle.
People all across the globe are working on water shortage solutions to meet the demands of the global population today and in the future.
We may one day create technologies that allow us to manufacture water from hydrogen and oxygen in a simple and safe manner, and scientists are undoubtedly researching the problem right now.
Meanwhile, water conservation and preservation remain the best ways to manage our resources for future generations.