Chilean Solution to Safe Drinking Water Shortage

IRSHAD SALIM — A Chilean startup has built a machine that can take moisture out of the sky (raw material is free!) and turn it into super-clean drinking water at the touch of a button.

We ought to look at the concept seriously — it could be a start toward beating the use of fire-hydrants and water tankers for water supply in our major cities.

Besides, Pakistan happens to be in the region’s severe water stress envelope warranting cost effective and natural solutions as things stand.

Dubbed ‘FreshWater’, the machine was invented by Hector Pino, an engineer in Santiago — using military technology, reports say.

According to Pino, submarines use similar machine to produce and store quality, drinkable water by the process. But it was more of an industrial technology. “So we worked on it to make it accessible for domestic use.”

Presently it costs $1600, but Hector hopes to reduce it so it’s made available worldwide.

It’s said that the best technology resembles magic, and FreshWater certainly fits that description, Bloomberg wrote.

The machine works well enough that it is now being heralded as a lifeline for people throughout Chile and South America who need access to clean water. The machines are being tested in Chile’s deserts to the north. Pino hopes to build a backpack-size device soon.

Can this machine provide similar lifeline for residents living in those areas in Asia and MENA regions where safe drinking water remains elusive? Hopefully some day FreshWater will come to their rescue, or the process can be adopted locally without copywrite infringement.

A version of the article first appeared in Al-Bilad in Jan 2017

The writer is business, construction consultant and analyst based in Islamabad. Email: [email protected] Tweet him at