Out of thin air: can hydropanels bring water to parched communities?

Out of thin air: can hydropanels bring water to parched communities?

Some skeptics say the technology at present is too inefficient and expensive to be a practical solution to water scarcity

On the dusty, often unpaved roads that cross the Navajo Nation, pickup trucks hauling water are a common sight. Navajo Nation residents are 67 times more likely than other Americans to lack running water in their homes.

But outside more than 500 homes on the Navajo reservation in Arizona and New Mexico are devices that aim to help tackle this plumbing poverty. These “hydropanels” absorb water from the air and deliver it straight to a dispenser inside the house. Each one produces around five liters (1 gallon) daily, and two panels are enough to supply a family’s drinking water, according to Source, the Arizona-based company that produces them.

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