If there’s one thing that mars a skyline worse than a building in front of your favorite mountaintop, it’s probably a billboard. Of course, a billboard is put there in your face for exactly that reason, so you take notice of it. In Lima, Perú, the University of Engineering and Technology [UTEC] has re-imagined the role of a billboard in the community, not only to advertise the university, but for a far grander purpose.
The Capital of Perú, Lima, sits in the desert coastal region, and receives less than an inch of rain annually, which is odd considering the high humidity, often over 90%. The freshwater supply here, for about 8½ million inhabitants, is a constant concern, and freshwater must be piped in from the Andes or from ever-deepening and often-contaminated wells. UTEC’s billboard takes water directly from the humidity-laden air and dispenses it at the base of the support tower.
The system is comprised of a condenser, a reverse osmosis filtration system, an activated carbon filter, and storage tanks. In the three months since the UTEC billboard was erected, about 2,600 gallons of water have been condensed, filtered, and stored for use by the local population. Hundreds of families, in the Bujama District of Lima, Perú have benefited from this new freshwater supply. The billboards can also be installed in various locations to provide freshwater to local residents. It’s also great advertising for UTEC’s technology programs that made the system possible.