New Invention Makes Ocean Water Drinkable


Chemists with the University of Texas and the University of Marburg have devised a method of using a small electrical field that will remove the salt from seawater.

Incredibly this technique requires little more than a store-bought battery.

Called electrochemically mediated seawater desalination (EMSD) this technique has improved upon the current water desalination method.

Richard Cooks, chemistry professor at the University of Austin said : “The availability of water for drinking and crop irrigation is one of the most basic requirements for maintaining and improving human health.”

Cooks continued: “Seawater desalination is one way to address this need, but most current methods for desalinating water rely on expensive and easily contaminated membranes. The membrane-free method we’ve developed still needs to be refined and scaled up, but if we can succeed at that, then one day it might be possible to provide fresh water on a massive scale using a simple, even portable, system.”

Kyle Krust, lead author of the study said: “We’ve made comparable performance improvements while developing other applications based on the formation of an ion depletion zone. That suggests that 99 percent desalination is not beyond our reach.”

This “water chip” method “could bring relief to millions around the globe who lack potable water.”

This method “is much simpler and consumes less energy than other forms of desalination.”

Crooks explained : “To achieve desalination, the researchers apply a small voltage (3.0 volts) to a plastic chip filled with seawater. The chip contains a microchannel with two branches. At the junction of the channel an embedded electrode neutralizes some of the chloride ions in seawater to create an ‘ion depletion zone’ that increases the local electric field compared with the rest of the channel. This change in the electric field is sufficient to redirect salts into one branch, allowing desalinated water to pass through the other branch.”

The Ion depletion zone prevents salt from passing through which creates fresh water out of salt water.

An estimated 780 million people across the globe do not have access to drinkable water. Of those estimated, 345 million reside in Africa.

There is an estimated 366 million, trillion gallons of water on planet Earth. That number appears to be fixed, according to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Program (HIP).

The HIP are a UN program system devoted to researching and finding natural water resources and managing those resources found. While the UN is well aware that the necessity of water as a vital source for life means the retention of power over all life, they are well into their schemes to develop global governance over all sources of fresh, clean water.

The IPCC document HS 15332 Climate Change Impacts: Securitization of Water, Food, Soil, Health, Energy and Migration explains how the UN plans to secure resources to use at their disposal.

Through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under-developed countries are forced to sell their resources to the global Elite as “full cost recovery” to the global central bankers.

Once those resources are under the complete control of the IMF they become assets to be reallocated back to the enslaved nations for a price.

This scheme makes water sources under central privatization cost more and become less accessible to those who desperately need it. Water prices rise while the quality of it diminishes.

This forces natives in places like South Africa and India to collect water from polluted streams and rivers, which compromises their health. The cycle in complete when those who had their water stolen from them through coercion die from contaminated water that they were forced to use.

At the High-Level International Conference on Water Cooperation (ICWC) conference, entitled “Water in the Anthropocene” states that humanity’s impact on freshwater resources were assessed and it was determined that a 3rd of the estimated 7 billion people on earth have limited access to clean water.

Millions if individual local humans affect the regional, continental and global water cycles which facilitates a drastic shortage and untold damage of aquatic ecosystems.

The document stated: “In the short span of one or two generations, the majority of the nine billion people on Earth will be living under the handicap of severe pressure on fresh water.”

Human populations utilize water resources the equivalent of the size of South Africa to tend to the needs of crops. Another Africa-sized amount of water is used on the care of livestock.

Fresh water makes up 2.5% of the total water supplies across the planet. It is estimated that 70% of it is snow and ice-pack.

The document says that because of the impact of man on the planet, the earth’s chemistry and climate have been altered which has evidenced itself in the measureable hydrological cycles of the planet.

This obviously unsustainable course is causing the contamination of our fresh water supply.

UN-Water, a non-governmental organization (NGO), controlled by UNESCO, published the 4th edition of the UN World Water Development Report (WWDR4) in 2012.

In this report, the world’s freshwater resources were analyzed. Internationally controlled infrastructure was recommended to save those resources from being depleted.

Research data shows that nearly 1 billion people are using finite water resources. Therein lay a portion of the problem.

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The rising pressure of global water shortages

The world is experiencing a surge of water-related crises. The eastern basin of the Aral Sea dried up completely in August, for the first time in 600 years. California has experienced an unprecedented three-year drought. Demographic changes and unsustainable economic practices are affecting the quantity and quality of the water at our disposal. Rapid urbanization is creating huge pressure on water use and infrastructure, with lasting consequences on human health and urban environments. These changes make water an increasingly scarce and expensive resource — especially for the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable.

Demand for water is projected to grow by more than 40% by 2050. By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in countries or regions in which water is scarce, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living in conditions in which the supply of clean water does not meet the demand.

The picture is not entirely dark. Thanks to global mobilization behind the Millennium Development Goals, 2 billion people have benefited from access to improved water sources.

Still, let us remember that 750 million people do not have access to safe drinking water. Roughly 80% of wastewater is discharged untreated into oceans, rivers and lakes. Nearly 2 million children under the age of 5 die every year for want of clean water and decent sanitation. One billion people in 22 countries still defecate in the open. Two and a half billion people do not have adequate sewage disposal.

That is why I launched the 2013 Call to Action on Sanitation on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General. We want to break the silence and taboo surrounding toilets and open defecation. These words must be natural elements of the diplomatic discourse on development.

In today’s world, we see how the lack of access to water can fuel conflict and even threaten peace and stability. That is why in the coming year I would like to see more attention on what I call hydro-diplomacy.

Degraded access to water increases the risk of social tensions, political instability and intensified refugee flows. Even more disturbing is when we see this resource used as a weapon of war.

I witnessed this first-hand during the Darfur conflict in Sudan. On one trip in 2007 to a village in north Darfur, we were met by a group of women chanting: “Water, water, water.” The enemy militia had poisoned their well, they said, forcing them to move to the overcrowded camps for internally displaced people.

“Lack of access to water can fuel conflict and even threaten peace and stability.”

In Iraq, ISIL has exploited access to water to expand its control over territory and to subjugate the population. This extremist group has cut off water to villages that resist its advance. It has deliberately flooded substantial areas of land, displacing thousands of civilians. In recent months, it has directed its operations to Iraqi hydroelectric dams — in particular, the Mosul dam. All of Mosul and 500,000 people in Baghdad would be in grave peril if the dam were to burst — a chilling prospect.

We have also seen tensions related to large hydroelectric projects, such as the Rogun Dam in Tajikistan and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Neighbouring countries have expressed deep concerns, and energy and agricultural interests are clashing.

Still, it would be a mistake to get caught up in ‘water-war’ rhetoric. Certainly, as freshwater shortages become increasingly acute, the threat of violence over water is a real one. But we must not lose sight of the opportunities that water offers as a source of cooperation. Tensions over water resources have historically led to more collaboration than conflict. Shared water has brought states together; the 1960 Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan survived three wars and remains in force today.

In other words, water can and should drive cooperation and conflict resolution. More than 90% of the world’s population lives in countries that share river and lake basins, and 148 countries share at least one transboundary river basin. Almost 450 agreements on international waters were signed between 1820 and 2007. The Water Convention that was forged under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in 1992 is one such notable agreement.

Moreover, shared water access can create space for inter-state dialogue on points of contention that, if left unattended, may threaten regional or international peace and security. One recent example of such cooperation is among countries of the Lake Chad Basin. Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria established the Basin Commission in 1964 to manage the declining waters of Lake Chad equitably. They were later joined by other concerned states, including Libya and the Central African Republic. This year, the mandate of the commission was expanded to cover regional security challenges such as terrorism, the arms trade and cross-border insurgencies.

All this to say that hydro-diplomacy is a reality. The potential for shared management of water as a means to achieve regional co­operation and conflict prevention is vital. In 2015 and beyond, through efforts in diplomacy, economics and scientific research, we need to focus on water as a source of cooperation, rather than as a source of conflict.

Characteristics and Outcomes of Patients With Vasoplegic Versus Tissue Dysoxic Septic Shock.


Background: The current consensus definition of septic shock requires hypotension after adequate fluid challenge or vasopressor requirement. Some patients with septic shock present with hypotension and hyperlactatemia greater than 2 mmol/L (tissue dysoxic shock), whereas others have hypotension alone with normal lactate (vasoplegic shock).

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine differences in outcomes of patients with tissue dysoxic versus vasoplegic septic shock.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a large, multicenter randomized controlled trial. Inclusion criteria were suspected infection, two or more systemic inflammatory response criteria, and systolic blood pressure less than 90 mmHg after a fluid bolus. Patients were categorized by presence of vasoplegic or tissue dysoxic shock. Demographics and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores were evaluated between the groups. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality.

Results: A total of 247 patients were included, 90 patients with vasoplegic shock and 157 with tissue dysoxic shock. There were no significant differences in age, race, or sex between the vasoplegic and tissue dysoxic shock groups. The group with vasoplegic shock had a lower initial Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score than did the group with tissue dysoxic shock (5.5 vs. 7.0 points; P = 0.0002). The primary outcome of in-hospital mortality occurred in 8 (9%) of 90 patients with vasoplegic shock compared with 41 (26%) of 157 in the group with tissue dysoxic shock (proportion difference, 17%; 95% confidence interval, 7%–26%; P < 0.0001; log-rank test P = 0.02). After adjusting for confounders, tissue dysoxic shock remained an independent predictor of in-hospital mortality.

Conclusions: In this analysis of patients with septic shock, we found a significant difference in in-hospital mortality between patients with vasoplegic versus tissue dysoxic septic shock. These findings suggest a need to consider these differences when designing future studies of septic shock therapies.


Water balance of global aquifers revealed by groundwater footprint.

Groundwater is a life-sustaining resource that supplies water to billions of people, plays a central part in irrigated agriculture and influences the health of many ecosystems1, 2. Most assessments of global water resources have focused on surface water3, 4, 5, 6, but unsustainable depletion of groundwater has recently been documented on both regional7, 8 and global scales9, 10, 11. It remains unclear how the rate of global groundwater depletion compares to the rate of natural renewal and the supply needed to support ecosystems. Here we define the groundwater footprint (the area required to sustain groundwater use and groundwater-dependent ecosystem services) and show that humans are overexploiting groundwater in many large aquifers that are critical to agriculture, especially in Asia and North America. We estimate that the size of the global groundwater footprint is currently about 3.5 times the actual area of aquifers and that about 1.7 billion people live in areas where groundwater resources and/or groundwater-dependent ecosystems are under threat. That said, 80 per cent of aquifers have a groundwater footprint that is less than their area, meaning that the net global value is driven by a few heavily overexploited aquifers. The groundwater footprint is the first tool suitable for consistently evaluating the use, renewal and ecosystem requirements of groundwater at an aquifer scale. It can be combined with the water footprint and virtual water calculations12, 13, 14, and be used to assess the potential for increasing agricultural yields with renewable groundwaterref15. The method could be modified to evaluate other resources with renewal rates that are slow and spatially heterogeneous, such as fisheries, forestry or soil.

Source: Nature.

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