Researchers in Peru have teamed up with an ad agency to provide a viable solution to the problem of potable water shortage in Lima, the world’s second-largest city in the world. Their creation is a s simple as it is ingenious – a billboard that turns air humidity into drinking water.
Located northern edge of the Atacama, the driest desert in the world, the city of Lima and its surrounding villages get around 0.51 inches of precipitation per year. For a long time, the capital city has relied on drainage from the Andes mountains and runoff from melted glaciers for its potable water needs, but due to climate change, the water supply from both sources is on the decline. Out of the 8.5 million people living in Lima, 1.2 million lack running water completely and have to either draw water from wells, which is known to be polluted, or rely on unregulated private-company water trucks, which charge u to 20 time the normal price of tap water. Aware of this dire problem, Lima’s University of Engineering and Technology started looking for a way to solve the problem and, at the same time, draw the attention of applicants for 2013. Inspired by the fact that the city’s average air humidity is about 83%, due to its location along the Southern Pacific Ocean, UTEC partnered with advertising agency Mayo DraftFCB to create an eye-catching billboard that produces water out of thin air.