Our solution:

Rising tides worldwide are a massive problem, but what if we could use it to our advantage? Cities like Venice use complicated dam and gate systems to keep water out. These systems should be converted into water filtration systems that utilize natural sea tide patterns to purify water with gravity.

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Our pitch:

Isn't it an oxymoron that California is predicted to be under water and at the same time alarm bells are ringing that they will actually run out of water in 12 months?  At the same time that sea levels are threatening to drown us, how are people in those same places suffering from a drought?  

With the abundance of salinated water threatening to flood major cities all over the world, we should focus on harvesting this water and turning it into a drinkable resource. By using natural forces created by tides and rising water heights, we can use water purification techniques such as reverse osmosis and gravity filtration while using very little energy.  

Venice already has a complicated gate system that holds water back from the city to protect them from high tides.  But, the city could take advantage of high water levels by feeding this water into a gravity filtration system.  By building a filtration system near the gates, the water will naturally spill into the top of the system as the rising water from the tide reaches the appropriate level.   Additionally, rough tides and waves will produce enough force against the gate to push water through a reverse osmosis filtration system.  

Building desalination plants in every major city will allow us to reduce the impact of rising sea levels and combat the clean drinking water problem.   It will help combat the diluting seawater problem by reintroducing the removed brine back into areas that have been negatively affected by newly present fresh water.  From a scalability and supply-chain standpoint, we have an unlimited amount of seawater, but we need to develop novel ways to filter it. Gravity-based and reverse osmosis desalination research is crucial to solving this problem.

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The problem:

This specifically solves the problem of access to clean drinking water by people in urban areas. 

Gravity and reverse osmosis filtration are the most environmentally friendly filtration processes currently used today.

If water can be desalinated cheaply and easily, then programs can be put in place to guarantee that every person in that city has potable water resources regardless of economic income, and without increasing their carbon footprint.  This also addresses the pressing climate issues that are impacting major cities suffering from rising sea levels.

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Why our solution will solve the problem:

Despite alarmist claims in the media that some city will be underwater OR run out of water, we cannot deny that there is a problem both with rising sea levels and clean water access.  There is already a lot of research in harvesting energy from the ocean as well as technology that promotes reverse osmosis and gravity filtration. This solution combines two existing ideas in a novel way, by using gravity and natural tides, letting the ocean filter itself.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/will-you-be-underwater-theres-a-map-for-that/  

http://www.ocregister.com/2017/04/26/ocean-might-swallow-california-sooner-than-you-think/  

http://upriser.com/posts/california-will-run-out-of-water-in-a-year-nasa-scientist-says  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3rn5AMybZs  

http://www.tampabaywater.org/tampa-bay-seawater-desalination-plant.aspx  

http://www.water-technology.net/projects/mose-project/  

https://www.boem.gov/Ocean-Current-Energy/  

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/08/110804-fresh-water-crisis-desalination-environment-science/

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Our solution's stage of development:

Research

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Target Outcomes

Our target outcomes:

Cities will benefit from living near the ocean by harvesting drinking water in a cost effective and environmentally friendly way.  City residents and low income citizens will benefit the most.  Water will be integrating into the city's current plumbing system.

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How we will measure our progress:

  • Outcome: The cost of water is free or negligible for all city residents.
    Measurement Plan: Track water prices based on surveys from water companies.
  • Outcome: Ocean water dilution is reversed.
    Measurement Plan: Ecosystem patterns and salt levels in the ocean are tracked weekly.
  • Outcome: The sea levels near cities stop rising.
    Measurement Plan: Constant sea level measurements compared with water generation.
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The populations we will benefit initially:

  • Upper middle income economies (between $3976 and $12275 GNI)
  • Lower middle income economies (between $1006 and $3975 GNI)
  • Low-income economies (< $1005 GNI)
  • Urban
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The regions we will benefit initially:

  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • US and Canada
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The countries we will benefit initially:

  • Italy
  • Nicaragua
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
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Technology

The technologies we employ:

  • Agricultural technology
  • Environmental engineering
  • Manufacturing & process optimization
  • Materials & nanotechnology
  • Physics
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Why our solution is unique:

This solution is innovative because gravity filtration and natural currents in the ocean have not been applied to the water filtration process. Desalination is largely ignored by scientists who write it off as too expensive, and has not been recommended as a solution to reverse rising sea levels and move water out of the ocean.

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Why our solution is human-centered:

Removing water from the ocean will protect cities from suffering catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina, where water flooded over the barriers meant to protect the city. It will also help to provide clean, drinkable water to those in need, by cheapening the water filtration process. Water rationing is not a viable solution in the 21st century, so we must make this unlimited salt water usable.

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How people will access our solution:

It is planned that the cheaper water can be integrated into the current water system in many major cities.  However, free water stations should also be built in cities that are suffering extreme impact and droughts.

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Technology-Readiness Level:

0 (Concept)
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Business Plan

Our organization:

Not Registered as Any Organization

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Where we are located:

United States
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How we will sustain our team financially:

This is currently a side research project that I truly believe will work, but I need to refine the idea with industry partners and experts that know more about water filtration and carbon footprints. The steps would be 1) Find partners in research 2) Develop a prototype 3) Identify pilot city 4) Customize plan based on that city's needs. 5) Find funding to deploy the plan

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The factors limiting our success:

If the right experts aren't on board with the idea, then it will be very difficult to convince others to fund the project.

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How long we have been working on our solution:

1 year
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How long it will take to develop a pilot:

18+ months
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How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:

18+ months
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Partnership Needs

We're looking for partners in these fields:

  • Technology Access
  • Water Treatment
  • Water Sourcing
  • Built Infrastructure
  • Supply Chain Management
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Why we're applying to Solve:

I was inspired by the presentation I saw at Solve at MIT a few months ago.  I have always thought that desalination of the ocean was a possible solution, but people said that it was a crazy idea.  The presentation at Solve inspired me to research this idea more fully and present it as a solution.  I hope to make an impact by having other people help this "crazy idea" come to fruition. 

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Our current partners:

N/A


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