Today, more than 780 million people in 43 countries are suffering from water shortages due to overuse and pollution of freshwater, which is scarce and very unevenly distributed across the world. As populations grow and economies develop, global demand for water has been increasing at an annual rate of around 1%. If current practices continue, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the population worldwide will face water-stressed conditions by 2025.
In the meantime, the atmosphere contains 37.5 million billion gallons of water, which is enough to cover the entire surface of the planet with one inch of rain if condensed. Harvesting clean water from the air has attracted increasing attention in recent years as an environmentally sustainable alternative to alleviating the world's mounting water crisis and reducing its dependence on natural resources. However, this normally requires an immense energy input, while its efficiency largely depends upon ambient temperature and relative humidity. The Water Abundance XPRIZE, a two-year competition sponsored by India's Tata Group and Australian Aid, was created in 2016, aiming to address the critical drawbacks of the technology and accelerate its commercial exploitation.
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