Study: Water from atmospheric water vapor in Tel Aviv is suitable for drinking

·2-min read
Advanced chemical analyses found that, in the vast majority of cases -- including during different seasons and at different times of the day -- water extracted from the air in the heart of Tel Aviv was safe to drink.

The water generated from atmospheric water vapor in urban areas can be safe to drink, and could one day find its way into our bottles and flasks. This astonishing discovery comes from research by scientists at Israel's Tel Aviv University.

According to the research, published in the journal Science of The Total Environment , water generated from the air in an urban area of the city of Tel Aviv met all the strict drinking water standards set both by the State of Israel and the World Health Organization.

After various chemical analyses, the researchers found that water extracted from water vapor in the urban atmosphere -- often characterized by industry and massive construction -- was safe to drink in the vast majority of cases, including during different seasons and at different times of day.

The study was conducted by a team of experts from the hydrochemistry laboratory at the Porter School of Environment and Earth Sciences at Tel Aviv University. For the researchers involved, this discovery could potentially be used as a means of processing and generating drinking water at a lower cost and in large quantities.

"The Earth's atmosphere is a vast and renewable source of water, which may be an alternative drinking water resource. Our atmosphere contains billions of tons of water, 98% of which is in a gaseous state -- that is, water vapor," the study news release explains.

Although only a partial solution, recovering drinking water from urban water vapor could help reduce global water access problems, the scientists argue.

"Water from the air ... can be produced anywhere, with no need for expensive transport infrastructure and regardless of the amount of precipitation. From an economic perspective, the higher the temperature and humidity, the more cost-effective the production of water from the air is," explain the scientists, who now plan to expand their research to other areas in Israel, including Haifa Bay.

According to UN estimates , more than three billion people live in agricultural areas with high levels of water shortages and scarcity.

Léa Drouelle

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