Engineers Capture Drinking Water from Humidity With a Billboard in Lima, Peru

The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru and an ad agency called Mayo DraftFCBand created a new water-creating billboard in Lima, Peru to help tackle the serious problem in an area that has long been threatened with water insecurity issues.

The billboard is the first ever to capture air humidity and turn it into potable drinking water.  Many residents of Lima, the second largest desert capital in the world, face the harsh reality of being forced to draw polluted water from wells.  Peru gets less than two inches of rain a year and has an atmospheric humidity of about 98 percent, one the highest in the world.

According to the UN, about 60% of the world's population will be living in cities within the next 8 years – a human migration that adds more and more strain on cities' sanitation and resources.  Un Deputy Chief Jan Eliasson says improving access to water can reduce maternal health issues, child mortality and overall poverty.  With the implementation of more billboards like this one, Lima will not only be solving its water scarcity problem but many others that go hand-in-hand with it.

The billboard system uses reverse osmosis, a water purifying process, and then stores the water in tanks that hold 20 liters each.  The water is dispensed at the bottom of the structure, which has provided 9,450 liters in three months.  As water supplies dwindle amid climate change, growing populations and food insecurity issues, the billboard in Lima is one of a host of many innovative solutions that have been developed.