One of the problems that the world’s growing population will potentially face is a scarcity of drinking water in some areas. This concern is one of the factors that some neo-Malthusians cling to justify their calls for population control. In a similar way population growth in the 1960s was predicted to cause mass starvation in the world (remember Paul Ehrlich?) However, the green revolution in the latter part of the twentieth century means that there are now more people in the world than ever, but also less hunger and fewer people in extreme poverty! So much for condemning parts of the world (like India) to mass starvation…
Anyway, water is the new food – people are not going to starve in the near future, but they will die of thirst unless something is done. But as I’ve said before, more people does not mean solely more consumers (of food or water) but also more entrepeuners, problem solvers and inventors. Is it inconceivable that, just like food shortages were solved with the green revolution, people will solve the problem of water shortages?
With that question in mind, this invention from the Sehgal Foundation (an Indian nonprofit) is grounds for optimism. It is a well design that “does a better job of gathering fresh rain water that can be safely collected from wells used in rural areas”. For a visual representation of how it works, see this helpful Youtube video (even someone as unpractical as I am could understand it!)
It specifically deals with the problem of high salinity in many Indian state’s groundwater by creating a “pocket” of freshwater in the groundwater through hydro-static pressure. This is an invention with great potential: 80,000 square miles of land is estimated to contain water that’s too salty to drink. But with the Sehgal Foundation’s newly designed recharge wells, the problem of wasting collected rainwater in salty groundwater is solved. As Gizmodo notes:
“This clever way of rethinking rainwater collection could be a game-changer for our planet’s ever-growing population. According to the Global Water Forum, worldwide demand for clean water will jump 55% by 2050, once humans hit 9 billion. The only way we’ll meet those needs is by using great technology, like this smart innovation in India.”
Great technology invented by great human minds: after all, we are not only consumers of resources.