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Access to fresh clean drinking water is one of the world’s greatest environmental issues. The United Nations claims that 1.2 billion people, who consist of one fifth of the world population, live in areas of clean water scarcity. “About 97 percent of the world’s water is saltwater or polluted water,” says Shimmy Zimels, CEO of Jerusalem-based SunDwater. This situation forces many countries to drill expensive wells, buy bottled water, or even use contaminated water despite the health risks associated with drinking unclean water. Indeed, most of the people suffering from acute shortages in clean drinking water live in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

This horrible environmental situation adversely affects not only the environment and human health, but also world security. Former UN Security General Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali once declared, “The next war in the middle east will be over water, not politics.” Indeed, water crises’ have fueled conflicts from the Indian subcontinent to the Middle East to Africa. For example, water is one of the areas of conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors.

Water has also exasperated tensions between Pakistanis and Indians, and the Syria conflict has been adversely affected by the water crisis existing within the country. In addition, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, “The crisis in Darfur stems in part from disputes over water: The conflict that led to the crisis arose from tensions between nomadic farming groups who were competing for water and grazing land—both increasingly scarce due to the expanding Sahara Desert.”

Thus, SunDwater’s solar power distiller, which offers developing countries an environmentally-friendly way to convert unclean water into drinkable water, is of such pivotal importance. The device was invented during an Israeli drought in 2009 by Shimon Ben Dor and it allows for unclean water to be placed on a photovoltaic dish that transforms it into clean drinking water.

According to Zimels, “This concept took several directions before Shimon decided to try getting heated water to evaporate and go back to its original molecular structure, which is what happens when it rains and the water evaporates up to the clouds. His concept was to replicate what nature does. There is no need for electricity. We are just using nature to improve nature itself, not creating new environmental problems.”

According to SunDwater, “The system is unique in the sense that it is environmentally friendly thus resolving one global problem without creating another and relatively inexpensive demonstrating an efficient production rate. The developed unit is a perfect “green” solution for urban, rural and remote target communities for basic fresh water needs. Taking in account that a vast majority of the communities in need reside in developing countries, our focus through the development process was to deliver a smart however very simple to operate and relatively cheap solution to assure the above mentioned populations are able to purchase and operate the units on their own.” So far, India, Madagascar, Nigeria and other African countries have expressed interest in SunDwater’s solar power distiller. However, the device has the potential to help many other countries as well.

To learn more, watch this video below!

By Rachel Avraham

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