This Week in Tech with Jeanne Destro is all about water this week, which is perhaps kind of fitting, but not at all intended; as it just happens to come at the same time the City of Akron just announced they're increasing water rates for city residents by at least $10.00 per month or more (depending on the amount of water used), starting in January.
But, while Akron residents fret about the effect that increased water rates might have on their budgets; there are millions of people around the world who would pay a king's ransom just to have enough clean water to drink. Some of them are even here in the US, and while they're not paying a "king's ransom"; they're definitely paying a pretty penny to buy all of their water from retailers like Walmart, because there just simply is not enough fresh water where they live.
Also this week, two new reports came out showing that 2023 is now the hottest year ever recorded in human history.
Now, while extreme heat on its own is bad for human health; rising temperatures also cause natural disasters, like more violent storms, floods, wildfires, and droughts, that can wreak havoc on the systems we need to survive, like the often quite old and fragile ones that supply our water.
In addition, there are parts of the world–even here in the US–where there just simply is not enough fresh water available from sources like groundwater, rivers, lakes, and streams, and communities have turned to large scale seawater desalination plants to meet their needs.
But what if your area actually has adequate drinking water, but it becomes contaminated by either a natural disaster, or a man-made catastrophe like the recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio? Is there a way to bring water desalination and purification technology to bear in those types of situations?
Well, yes, in fact, there is, according to Dr. Peter Fiske, who is the Director of the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) and Water-Energy Resilience Research Institute (WERRI) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Fiske, who has a connection to the Akron area through his role as a consultant to Akron-based clean water technology company, Fontus Blue, talked to us this week about their ongoing efforts to find, treat, and recover water in new and creative ways, that may have previously been written off as "undrinkable".
Find out more. Listen now.
Dr. Peter S. Fiske, Director, National Alliance For Water Innovation