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Billboard In Lima, Peru Creates Drinking Water Out Of Thin Air (VIDEO)

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A new water-creating billboard in Peru helps tackle a serious problem -- as well as projects a message of hope -- in an area that's long-faced water insecurity issues.

A university and an ad agency have built the first-ever billboard to capture air humidity and turn it into potable drinking water in Lima, the second largest desert capital in the world.

The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru and an ad agency called Mayo DraftFCBand created the structure for the residents who are forced to draw polluted water from wells.

"They could put this in different places if possible in each village, in each town…the water that gives us life," Francisco Quilca, a Bujama District's resident, told the university.

Peru gets less than two inches of rain a year and has an atmospheric humidity of about 98 percent, according to a video created by the university.

The billboard system uses reverse osmosis, a water purifying process, and then stores the water in tanks that hold 20 liters each. The water is dispensed at the bottom of the structure, which has provided 9,450 liters in three months, according to the school.

The implementation of the water billboard coincides with the timing of a January study related to climate change in the tropical Andes. A study in the journal The Cryosphere shows that the Andean glaciers, which provide fresh water for the residents of Peru, among other countries, have shrunk between 30 and 50 percent since the 1970s.

"Glacier retreat in the tropical Andes over the last three decades is unprecedented," said Antoine Rabatel, the lead author of the study.

As water supplies dwindle amid climate change, growing populations and food insecurity issues, the billboard in Lima is one of a host of many innovative solutions that have been developed. NanoGanesh, for example, is a system that allows farmers to use their mobile phones to turn off their irrigation systems remotely, thereby saving water and electricity.

The UN and other global leaders have recently called for greater solutions to the water crisis, as projections point to the fact that about 60 percent of the world's population will be living in cities in the next eight years, adding more strain on sanitation systems and resources, the Associated Press reported.

UN Deputy Chief Jan Eliasson said improving access to water would reduce maternal health issues, child mortality and overall poverty.

"If we do water and sanitation right, we can have a great improvement on other goals," he said.

Learn more about solutions for the water crisis at HuffPost Water.

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Around the Web

Lima: Can a metropolis die of thirst? | GlobalPost

Water crisis in Lima | Strategy | DW.DE | DW.DE | 06.12.2011

Carbon-Based: Lima: Desert city in need of water

 
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