When the land you live in is arid and inhospitable, and it rains on average only two days a year, water is undoubtedly a scarce and precious resource. However, when atmospheric humidity levels reach a whopping 98%, innovative minds, such as those found at Lima’s University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC), spot an opportunity.
Thanks to UTEC, many families living in poor conditions in lower Bujama, a desert-like district on the outskirts of Lima, now have access to clean drinking water by means of the world’s first water-generating billboard. By installing a series of condensers and filters underneath the billboard, moisture is captured from the air and transformed into water. The water is then gradually filtered down from tanks to a tap accessible to whoever should wish to use it.
Water also irrigates a hydroponic vegetable patch growing lettuce heads that are given away free in the shadow of the looming billboard on the Pan-American South highway.
Dedicated to applying real-working solutions to the problems of society, UTEC hope to invest in more research to make the panel economically sustainable for communities with limited access to water across the world. In turn, UTEC hope that the project will inspire more creative, young minds to pursue careers in the country’s sparsely populated field of engineering.
Laura Humphries is a Barcelona/London-based writer interested in matters of urbanism, international development, human rights and more
Jessica Ruas Quartara, Co-creator