Remote island off East Timor turns sunlight, air into drinking water

(Reuters News, 13 Dec 2019) Innovative scheme uses solar power to suck water out of the air to provide a small community with a renewable supply of drinking water.

Villagers on a tiny island off the coast of East Timor who have long struggled with water shortages have secured regular fresh supplies, using just air and the power of the sun.

The innovative scheme uses solar power to suck water out of the air and make it drinkable, with the aim of reducing plastic waste and providing the small community on the wildlife-rich island of Atauro with a renewable supply of drinking water.

"The people living on Atauro have not had the opportunity to drink clean water that is not packaged in plastic," said Rob Bartrop, chief revenue officer at Zero Mass Water the U.S. technology firm behind the scheme.

"For the first time ... they have a renewable source of water they can rely on," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Population growth and climate change are putting increasingly intense pressure on the planet's limited water supplies, with worsening shortages emerging from the Middle East to Asia and Latin America, researchers said last month.

Like many similar islands in the region, Atauro lacks water infrastructure, leaving its 10,000 inhabitants reliant on rainwater and bottled supplies shipped in to meet their needs.

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Reuters News, 13 Dec 2019: Remote island off East Timor turns sunlight, air into drinking water