Friday, 15 October 2010

Blog Action Day- Solving Water Issues Through Adaptive Technology and Policy

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...Image via Wikipedia
Today is Blog Action Day 2010, and bloggers all over the world are uniting to advocate for the provision of clean water to people all over the world. Earlier in the year, I highlighted on some problems associated with using water on World Water Day. Water has very extensive applications in transport, chemical industry, energy and agriculture. However, we realise it's full importance only when we recall that our bodies need to be hydrated in order run the delicately complex processes that culminate into life. With lifestyle trends worldwide swiftly drifting towards technology, it's becoming clearer that sustainable water use is imperative now more than ever. Countries, non-profits, corporations and individuals are taking interesting steps to ensure that water is available for drinking for us and the future generations.

We often underestimate the extent of our water consumption

In a piece, titled the coming clash between water and energy, IEEE spectrum Inside Technology presents clear statistical evidence to buttress our deep thirst for water. To quote one paragraph:
Robert Osborne, an enterprising water blogger, calculates that a single Google search takes about half a milliliter of water. Just a few drops, really. But the 300 million searches we do a day take 150 000 liters. That’s a thousand bathtubs of water to power the data centers that handle the world’s idle curiosity. We challenge you to find an activity more trivial than a search engine query.
With increasing use of modern technological gadgets in Africa, we run the risk of powering our beloved toys at the expense of drinking water for the majority of our population. Note that majority of people in both urban and rural Ghana lack access to good drinking water.

However, there are some interesting solutions that could solve the situation

In the United states cities such as San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis have taken steps to cut spending on bottled water. The rationale is to cut down on petroleum, carbon emissions and waste, while protecting the ecological resources of the areas where spring water is mined.

Perhaps, countries in West Africa can take a cue from this, and restrict the use of bottled and pure (sachet) water, as we lack the capacity to recycle plastic containers. If we can drastically reduce the cost of water consumption in the city, the money saved could be pushed into rural water projects.

Singapore's approach is rather awe-inspiring. They actually convert toilet water into drinking water. Forcing waste water through filters under high pressure, Singapore's water utility was able to rid waste water of impurities and microbes, achieving water purity higher than other processes. A side benefit is a reduction in energy costs. This is the extent to which countries that lack natural water resources go in order to quench the thirst of their citizens.

We do not need to use toilet water in Ghana as we're blessed with lots of water bodies. Let's also deploy technology relevant to our needs to solve our water shortage problems once and for all.
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  1. I am really wondering if Ghanaians will be able to learn from the West. We copy the things that arent so beneficial to us and leave out the ones that will save us and our families.

  2. True, Ed. In addition to learning from the rest of the world,I relish the prospect of us leading the way in some areas as well.

  3. I wonder how many things that are good which western world has copied from us, must we always be copying, can't we ever produce

  4. @Career, actually i know of only a few. The recent successes and global adoption of projects like Ushahidi and Ubuntu show that indeed Africa can also contribute good things to today's world. We have a lot of work to do though.


Keep comments and insights coming to get the discussion going!