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Solving World Water Shortage Problems with Air Conditioning!

A photograph taken of the Piazza del Duomo in ...
Hot Milan - Image via Wikipedia

We recently had an air conditioning system put in to help us survive the heat which hits Milan in the summer months, and in a round about sort of way, this got me thinking about a solution, in part, to water shortage in the world.  Then there is the bleak prospect of water wars.

Now, I’ve noticed that our system manages to extract a litre of water or so after running for half an hour, and more water is extracted the longer the system is left running.  This is no surprise when you know that Milan is one humid place in summer.  In summer in Italy there are thousands of air conditioning units extracting water from the air.

This water extraction is what got me thinking, especially when my other half poured the water down the drain. What a waste, I thought, what with scientists ringing alarm bells globally regarding the likelihood of a water shortage emergency in the future. I did point out this water wastage to her, but she reckons that the water is not fit for anything.  Well I disagree.

I don’t really think this water would do the plants on our balcony much harm.  And what if those plants produced food?

Taking this further, how about using this water on the plants in the local park, or on a local farm? Does the water generated by air conditioning units not constitute a form of renewable resource?  If managed sensibly, the recycling of air conditioning water could be seen as a form of water conservation too.

How Much Water Goes Down the Drain?

I wonder how much water is being removed from Milan’s atmosphere every summer by air conditioning units and whether this water could be used in some way instead of being wasted.  Even if the water is not drinkable, using it for agriculture and the like would mean that more drinking water would be available, thus preserving freshwater supplies.

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It’s not just Milan in which air conditioning is used to keep temperatures bearable, cities the world over run air conditioning when summer hits.  Potentially millions of litres of water are going down drains and not being used productively.

Is this good?

Solar Powered Water Conservation

Would it be possible to set up solar powered dehumidification/purification plants in places which suffer from water shortages? This water, at the very least, could be used for irrigation, and, after being purified, could possibly be used for washing and drinking purposes.   Special plants could be set up in humid zones, and the water could be pumped, using solar powered pumps, of course, to arid areas.

I’ve Solved The World Water Shortage

Hey, I’ve just solved the world’s water shortage! No water wars!

OK, this is probably not true, but, if someone is not doing this already, maybe some scientific types should consider researching this issue.  Or if someone reading this can tell me whether this idea is economically feasible or not, I’m all ears.

Maybe Bill and Melinda Gates’ philanthropic fund could donate a few dollars towards research into this area.

Sorry, it’s hot here and, as mad dogs and Englishmen tend to do, I went out in the midday sun.

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