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The new key to smart cities: water supply

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Smart water transport

Transport systems are being reinvented for smart cities which is necessary. Hyperloop transporting passengers from city to city by magnetic levitation in a vacuum and The Boring Company loop shooting autonomous cars at high speed across cities will increasingly be through tubes in the sea, lake or river for at least part of the way. This transportation method even saves money. Autonomous underwater vehicles are zero-emission and they monitor offshore wind turbines, sea-floor mining, fish stocks, and more. Leisure submarines are a possibility – seeing deployment as taxis too.

Thirsty desert cities

The largest challenge of the $500-billion NEOM smart city in the Saudi Arabian desert is drinking water – all desalinated from the sea. See the IDTechEx report, Desalination: Off Grid Zero Emission 2018-2028.

The Bill Gates Belmont desert city in Arizona is nowhere near the sea, and the state gets its water from the Colorado River, which is drying up. By far its biggest challenge is water. It has to guarantee 100 years’ supply to be allowed to start. Arizona-based startup Zero Mass Water’s SOURCE photovoltaic panels make electricity but also use the sun’s rays to pull water from the air. Each panel has the potential to draw up to 10 litres (2.64 gallons) of water per day. That will help, but all the sources still leave that city with severe water conservation requirements.

One of the conservation requirements Bill Gates has proven from his investments is that the elimination of sewage distribution and treatment farms is possible when it is treated at the source. That saves large amounts of water. One new toilet has an electrochemical reactor that can break down water and human waste into fertilizer for fields and create hydrogen, which can be stored in hydrogen fuel cells as a green energy source. Even the little water used is treated enough to reuse for flushing or for irrigation.

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