(Source: Courtesy of Billions in Change)
What can be more paramount than addressing the global need for water? Something so basic in nature and fundamental to almost every aspect of human existence and yet continues to see ever-increasing shortages around the world. These shortages being either due to physical water scarcity or economic water scarcity; effects of which are causing (or will cause):
- Inadequate access to safe drinking water for roughly 880 million people
- Inadequate access to sanitation for 2.5 billion people, which often leads to water pollution
- Excessive use of groundwater leading to diminished agricultural yields
- Overuse and pollution of water resources harming biodiversity
- Regional conflicts over scarce water resources sometimes resulting in conflict (or even warfare).
It is therefore of some promise when a person such as Manoj Bhargava – through his investment fund Stage 2 Innovations – comes along with the Rain Maker; a ‘desalination unit roughly the size of a flatbed truck that relies on a conventional power source to distill seawater into freshwater’. A much-needed device that could prove to be the solution for the livelihoods of millions of people that live in coastal areas, and, with its ability to be coupled with other such devices or used as a ‘stand alone’ device, even be used inland. Such a device could be the answer to solving one of the world’s most important resource scarcity dilemmas and turn the 97.5% of currently undrinkable sea water into potable water.
What makes the Rain Maker so special is its uniqueness and simplicity. The device heats sea water until it becomes water vapor and then sends it through a series of compartments thereby distilling it into clean water. It doesn’t require any extravagant parts either – no consumable parts, no screens, filters, or parts that require frequent replacement. Rain Makers can create up to 1000 gallons of drinking water out of sea water every hour and to almost every level of purity. Bhargava hopes that although current desalination machines produce water too salty for agricultural use, the Rain Maker will be able to turn salt water into pharmaceutical grade water. Moreover, their simplistic design and assembly makes them easy to mass produce.
The man who made billions off the ubiquitous 5-Hour Energy drink supplements has now pledged to donate 90% of his wealth to innovations and causes such as water desalination in an attempt to make meaningful change at a time when climate change looks to burden us with increasing problems at every turn. His endeavors are so great that a documentary was even made in 2015 about his steps towards change.