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tv   The Science Of Water Sustainability  Al Jazeera  September 30, 2017 8:32am-9:01am AST

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to allow international flights in and out of the area in the u.s. there's been another high profile departure from the trumpet ministration the health secretary tom price has resigned after a scandal over his use of private jets taxpayers would have to foot the bill of around four hundred thousand dollars for his trips your secretary of state rex tillerson is in china for the second time this year as washington looks to step up the pressure on north korea the u.s. wants china to take tougher action against pyongyang in response to its missile and nuclear weapons tests on thursday beijing announced an all north korean companies in china have been ordered to shut down but only twenty eighteen president trumps first official visit to china is expected to take place in november the u.s. government has ordered sixty percent of its staff in cuba to leave its embassy it's said to be because of specific attacks on u.s. diplomats which included the use of sonic weapons the embassy now than it is now expected to stop processing visas an issue a new travel warning for u.s.
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citizens about a says the decision's been made to quickly well those were the headlines the news continues here on al-jazeera the techno statement that so much of. this is a sword in an age of simplistic narratives the listening post critiques the mainstream response exposing the influences that drive the headlines at this time on al-jazeera. water everywhere with less and less to drink. in space the earth is a big blue planet covered seventy percent in water the closer look prevails the only two and a half percent of that is fresh water with only one percent being easily accessible to keep our six point eight billion inhabitants alive and well a united nations report suggests that water consumption has grown twice as fast as population growth by twenty twenty five it's estimated that two thirds of the
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population will live in water stressed regions of the world water scarcity is a serious problem globally it's been said that will be wars fought over water this is techno a show about innovations that can change lives we're going to explore the intersection of hardware and humanity and we're doing it in the unique way this is a show about science by scientists. when it comes to water scarcity part of the problem is that our modern world was built with little concern that water is a finite resource our society. our economy our whole system of of living was based upon a paradigm of plentiful water and i don't think it was considered a what if we need to use less especially in agriculture the pressure to feed the
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world uses most of the fresh water supply sixty nine percent goes to farming with nineteen percent going to industry and only twelve percent of households in municipal use. i think we are unintentionally wasteful with water but we use more than we probably need to in an ideal situation but a part of is really learning how to use less water so with a global freshwater crisis upon us scientists like to don your financials. a working to create innovative solutions to help save fresh water supply. we begin in california's central coast a scientists looking sort of joining down capturing water from a weather phenomenon that's been around for. fog is a crucial part of the ecosystem and it's a very interesting intriguing part of a very complex system that we call weather and it's one that is much less understood on want to research in monterey california and what's really interesting
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is the contrast between old and new technology on one side of me is a field of study the panels which is having a huge impact on the way energy is consumed in the micro area and then behind me is the age old technique of collecting water from fog which could provide a solution to the problem of global water scarcity. this seems to be a very novel technology but it's actually been around for a while hasn't. collection actually has been around for a long time longer than in some cases recorded history so how long have humans trying to harvest as you can see evidence. even ten thousand years ago in areas where some of the populations there actually established their bases and we know it from archaeological evidence where middens were found happen to be in locations that were heavily fogged areas the idea maybe from the past but the science
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behind it. all right and i'll take the tools. there's the afternoon breeze. we're going to be i think on more on this. carry out the parts that when assembled become a research. ready to collect data. to deploy so why have you chosen three meters and between. them because i want to have significant enough separation that one of these fall collectors want to check with the other one is picking up we're going to anchor them down yes we're going to anchor them down. we want them to treat be pretty steady. this is really engineering at its best i'm standing here was nestled pipes in my hands in the last net above my head which really is going to collect water from fog and it's quite right now is this typical. fog it's not going to catch any fog in
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this in this weather right now because the fog up a couple hundred metres the fog literally has to be right where we're standing and that typically is going to happen during the night and in the early morning hours before the sun comes and burns the fog away sorry another day to a point guys up exactly what's being studied here is how to create the most efficient folk catching device at the heart of it innovative mash designs some made of plastic to capture the maximum amount of water possible but work experimented with our different amounts of mesh in the standard is to use two layers so we're actually collecting data on one two and three layers to see which one really does work better innovations in mesh design come from what scientists school. building on what mother nature has already created in this case taking keys from leaves the country can we emulate the surface of the leaf keep in mind a leaf has
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a lot of different surfaces different angles there's a lot of complexity in the surface that the wind can blow through and the little droplets of fall can collect on so one example. is here. this is a type of mash that is is actually made in a it's called a shell mash and it it's a double layer of it is the standard type of mesh used for fog water collection and you can see there's actually different surfaces involved. in this nash at different angles and in a sense this emulate what a tree would do the structure of this match must be crucial that's one of the things that is a current area of research what is it about the match that makes it an ideal fall collector there's a lot of interest in what type of materials make good is that the physical characteristics of the mesh is that perhaps the chemical characteristics of the mesh were still exploring what are all of the details associated with optimal fall
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collection under different environmental conditions it seems like quite. how much water can you collect typically you know in a standard day around here we might get during the fog event of a leader fraction of a leader but there are some areas where we have some elevation where we get fog in some cases there i can get several gallons in a day or if you want to scale this up and have giant. you know that would change everything when yeah there are places in the world where they're doing that including a morocco for instance eritrea. want to model haiti so there's a number of countries around the world that have that also have serious water needs where they are scaling these up so they have. actors like this that are dozens of square kilometers in size that collect correspondingly that much more water because they have the area so how many nets it developed around the world at this time quest a nonprofit organization involved in sustainable water projects estimates that county
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two hundred folks that is ten countries producing forty thousand liters of water a day an example of this is found in south america. there isn't a tree in sight in the hotshots a common does it. stretching almost a thousand kilometers it's known as the driest place on. the kiss is located in the pacific ocean the region is blanketed in a day. and is. what the. villages have turned to a system of simple math to capture water from fog. it's a much simpler version of the folks. studying and innovating in california but for the people of this. gift of life.
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the next capture about ten thousand meters of water a day from folks. on the water is used to bring new life to the area. for the people of chile a simple water source is a gift from nature they don't concern themselves with the chemical make up of nets have captured. the show. back in the university of california santa cruz to peta vice penzias is conducting research on the safety of using collected
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folklore. and human consumption as a chemist i came into the fog from the point of view of wanting to know what are the chemical compounds that are present in and by its very nature of being composed of very small water droplets are suspended in the air it's very a pressure that absorbing particles and gases and particles and gases. often include toxic noxious compounds that have been released by human activities or in some cases natural sources and unlike rain jobs that falls to the ground very quickly. this can be suspended in the after hours or even days absorbing a variety of police thousands and compounds places like eastern china shanghai japan and. various cities in europe they have heavy smoke lots of aerosol particles
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heavy metal toxins such as mercury in the air and these can be absorbed and concentrated into the fog droplets the droplets then can strike vegetation or maybe the surface of the building and deposit those pollutants onto the surface where they would then be exposed to them you'll studies have led g.t. . methylmercury in water that sounds incredibly boring that it even exists methylmercury could be formed and deeper waters of the ocean and then through coastal upwelling which is a process that brings a deeper water to the surface along the coasts especially along california that methylated mercury could come to the surface of the ocean and it's a volatile as a gas so that it could escape the ocean water and possibly be taken up by a fog bank and sure enough we found that they contained roughly ten times higher
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methylmercury than we typically find in rain now should we be worried about it still the levels are very low. it would not be harmful for humans to inhale the fog water and absorb that methylmercury because the health threshold is still probably a hundred times greater than what we see in the bar but what about the most pristine parts of the wells collecting folk water like we've seen in chile as as far. we know there fog water is fit to drink the g. g. g. if i was connected in china in chile i probably would say have some songs of folk with a heading yes these were collected on some very foggy nights here at u.c. santa cruz i wanted to show you a simple test that we could do and that is ph and so what i have here is just a small amount of the fog water tog water just came out of the air and we'll
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compare that to some tap water and this is the kind of really the most basic test that you'd want to do if you were to determine if the water was safe for drinking or for your geisha and. and so for the tap water we would hope that the tap water is close to neutral p. eight so that's a good test that one first will stick this little ph strip in there and we compare it against our scale and it looks like it's there we go and it's about six and maybe slightly more than six so neutral ph is seven tap water is about six so that's that's good now will test the fog water and if we were collecting this fogs in a very polluted location near maybe some coal fired power plants that the sulfur released from those and missions would create sulphuric acid and this would be very acidic but fortunately here in santa cruz we don't have any such industries and so now measure the ph let's compare the two we've got the tap water here on the right and
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the fog water on the left and i would conclude at least from a city point of view that the fog water is would be safe to drink or to use for irrigation irrigation and aquaculture the not just or fresh water on the plant we still have full can help in a small scale in regions like chile but how could it impact the larger agricultural picture around the wound in agriculture for instance there's people who are currently looking at can we water. intelligently other words can we shoes to water when the crops reach a certain level of dryness rather than just watering on some sort of a schedule. fog can augment water availability during the otherwise dry time of year and offset water stress on the stroll before in california central coast to sarah but justice is scientific come to find the balance between folk and it would gauge the century knowing more about fall could
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actually change the way we. yes it changes the physical environment important that what's called a back or transpiration about a transpiration is the loss of water from the surface to the atmosphere from soil and plants on days like today evapotranspiration is right if the plants aren't demanding as much water you don't need to irrigate as much this sounds like common sense but collecting the data to formulate an eye watering strategy is being done fast time there's a big gap right now between the information that this research is general and farming practices this research is the first to address how coastal fog events impact about the transpiration raids and the crop function.
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begins with a series of scientific instruments measuring pants at ground level these are some of the instruments we use to measure exchange of carbon and water and energy between the atmosphere and the surface is there a particular reason why this instrument lies in this particular spot this is an ideal location actually to. really understand coastal fog influence on ecosystem level carbon and water balance because as we can see it's a pretty high margin is landscape vegetatively there's not a lot of noise associated with the effects of different species or topography on these changes in concentration and we can really really understand the effect of cousteau fog on field scale carbon in water exchange what is this device here is my
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hand on no it's ok so this is what's called the white person four hundred it's a portable photosynthesis system and this instrument allows us to take the pulse of plants at the level of the leaf when we clamp this instrument onto a leaf which you're welcome to do we can measure how much leaf it is photosynthesizing and transpiring how much carbon it's taking up and how much water's. so why don't you clamp on it yeah that's how it does this go ahead and clamp all the way and hold that they're serving right now in new york. and what's called still model that's the degree to which. in. mar here the number more. than that means that there are more
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water or loss is this data telling me i role this is really the heart of the project we want to have mechanistic understanding of how these crops respond to their environment and so the data that i've been collecting using this instrument tells us that plants don't lose as much water on foggy days compared to sunny days so there's a significant reduction in water loss from plants on foggy days. i have to say that sounds very intuitive you know you would expect them not to need so much water when is so why is your with such sorrow impactful this is the first time that we've been quantifying in understanding what the effect is on fog in being able to compare and contrast the response of crops to different environmental conditions if this instrumentation could be used in a variety of different ecosystems and agricultural systems around the world we'd
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have a much better understanding of how local climate affects water to more from farms and has much greater potential to confidently make informed decisions about how much water to apply in agriculture producing irrigation amounts in both folk and of the farming regions is yet another small step in addressing water scarcity from fog and deserts around the world to next piece of hotel in los angeles california the quest to address water scarcity three science and technology continue here with more on that pos of the story is techniques coast. the hilton hotel in universal city california is no stranger to doing laundry every room uses twenty five gallons of water a day to keep the sheets clean however thanks to some new technology all that has changed but need the bustle of visible massive hotel inventor steve jenkins the
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chief technology officer of zeros a london based company is making a dent in a world thirsting for more of one of its most fragile resources water so at the moment what's happening is things are telling right in the drama just being right now more so yeah detergent so far this cirrus machine looks like any ordinary commercial washer but then comes the water saving innovation we don't have a lot so we've got to put this three step plan to spread the good said. i think if we stop and then the beads are going to come in and do that well polymer beads around one point five million of them taking the place of water in the washer these beads act like tiny sponges pounding soaking up in carrying away dirt and stains from fabrics so once the beans about you drop dead the stock tumbling and then the hose on the drum wall on the beach watching go through the hole down by the time we come back then and then post back up so all the beads go in and some of the beads
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the poles brown just to keep it topped up as we go through the wash cycle the last water used in the commercial washing machine of the sun typically eighty percent so in our cycle same way using one hundred fifteen someone walks by liters of water and that's really low for a twenty five milligram wash no really want to you know typically you'd be five hundred liters or even more on the not machine settling down so we're saving a lot of water on what i'm washing willingness to tell you it's a really sustainable. a simple chemistry demonstration offers a close up look at how the polymer beads work their new from gene this is blue dye it's a solution in water yeah it's moderately warm it's only just above room temperature but you can see that about six that die that we made went about by the abuse rather than we make those jeans that you're wearing them ok and this is the beads that we're going to test on these beads basically slightly bigger you can see them but if you count on that also the next generation of beads that we're working on would
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be s.f. these are going to replace those moving these are going to move and replace those beams ok so if i just. fill this up with this little research i'm. going to put this lid on here so we don't want to cope with the kind that i need to how he volunteer he will shake he's going to shake for about two minutes ok so what's happening in the now is those feet have chemistry in this well that's the problem there's more chemistry in there which is actually. starting to it's old to die in the system and the beads will gradually tend to blow up on the wall so what she's saying clearest and it will take about two minutes from now starting looks great. that's a visit so you're seeing some. civility some haziness and that's just from the action of the shaking of the thing that will settle down for the color change is to be informed of basically being a washing machine and you are being a washing machine. so what makes these what makes is the second version so the size
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of the shapes different from the density slightly different stuff to help us get more the beads out of the washer to. get a bit more mechanical action into the water shows that more mass to the feed fewer beats obviously because we don't want to pull the volume up for keep the same volume of machines before we go if you'll be ok so we started out with. this color. deep. and this is what we end up with so. well so so you can see color protection effect. and you can also see. the effect on the beads just suck sucked it all up correct could you use a mix of beads that are tuned for each individual color you can and you can put different chemistries in the different bodies a complicated solution but it's technically possible unlike water that is used in
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commercial and home washing machines and later discarded when the polymer beads have reached their full life cycle after hundreds of uses they're not just dumped into local landfills amounts to taken those speeds away because we don't throw them away we we have to clean them up and we can potentially reuse them in the system or in them beyond that we can recycle them into other application but it just melted down they could be melted down a process just like plastics in this family. anyway it made this thing these machines are catching on in north america in the u.k. with hundreds of models up and running but the big news consumers at the moment are hotels this machine and he's saving over a few thousand here wow that's a lot of space a low low low end of the chemical that's the benefit of recycled directly i mean maybe. the technological advancement the not only saves money but more importantly is having a quantifiable impact on conserving fresh water through innovation just one more
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small but important step in scientific efforts to help mitigate water scarcity around the world. that's all for today join us for more science and innovation from around the wilds next time on technical. the ingredients bring smiles but it's also the number one culprit in the global health crisis cardiovascular disease that's our number one killer all right i would say the hardest part is just discipline we think a bad player is there all the same if we produce that sugar increases risk that this is a problem tag no i've missed time on all disease. when the news
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