Did you know that anywhere that air exists, water exists? At sea level, air contains roughly 1% of water vapor and, according to research scientists from Harvard University, even in the desert, a cubic area the size of a house can contain up to 16 litres of water!
Now, thanks to the advancement of science and technology, and the determination of people like Beth Koigi, we’re able to turn air in to water, literally. This a huge deal, and if it sounds a bit like magic, then that’s because it is. Well, kind of…
Beth, a technology and community development specialist from Kiambu County, felt compelled to found Majik Water after experiencing water scarcity first hand. Their name isn’t just a description of the remarkable work that they do their, it’s a nod to the company’s roots and comes from combining the Swahili word for water ‘maji’, with the first letter of the word for harvest ‘kuna’, because that’s exactly what Majik Water does – they harvest water.
A problem that hit home
Beth Koigi, CEO of Majik water, began tackling water scarcity in college. In only a few months, she developed and sold water filters to clean the dirty tap water in the college dormitories. In 2016, Koigi’s water supply shut off because of a drought.
“Going for months without any tap water became a very bad situation,” she says. “Where I used to live, we didn’t get any tap water at all… I would go to the mall instead. Having no water at all is worse than just having unpurified water, so I started thinking about a way to not have to rely on the council.”
Koigi traveled to Silicon Valley for a program at Singularity University. This global learning community uses technology to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. While there, she met Anastasia Kaschenko, an American environmental scientist, and Clare Sewell, a British economist. The three women formed and lead Majik Water.
“The three of us were connected by the need to see a world where everyone has access to adequate and clean drinking water,” says Koigi.
Their company certainly tackles a major world issue. 1.2 billion people – one fifth of the world’s population – currently faces water scarcity. By 2025, that number will expectedly grow to 1.8 billion. Sub-Saharan Africa has more water-stressed countries than any area in the world
There’s an estimated six times more water in the atmosphere than in all rivers combined. By tapping into this untouched resource, the most affected parts of the world can have water. The resulting water also helps prevent the spread of waterborne diseases, according to Koigi.
How the magic happens
The device they created uses silica gels, which are able to draw water from the air. The gel releases water when it heats up. As an added perk, the device uses solar panels, meaning it does not rely on electricity.
This process can currently generate 10 liters of water a day. The team is working to increase that to 100 liters per day, while being cheaper to produce. The device will also work as a “water ATM,” allowing people to buy the amount of water that they need.
The company is quickly gaining recognition for their game-changing invention. Majik Water won Africa’s first EDF Pulse Awards. They were also finalists for 2018’s UN Environment’s Young Champions of the Earth, and are shortlisted for the 2019 African Prize for Engineering Innovation.
There’s no doubt that access to water is a huge global problem. With innovative companies like Majik Water, the possibilities for solutions are sky-high.