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What do you see? A formidable band of rain, located in the intertropical convergence zone. Here, precipitation levels are high and constant. Most of the world's rain falls in the oceans, inaccesible to man.
My idea: put huge plastic platforms in these ocean zones, of say 10 square kilometres. The
platform will float and catch this relatively clean rainwater.
Catch the drinking water in huge plastic bags (fresh water floats on salt water), and ship to your nearest destination.
The platform can be gently towed to other locations and follow the rain, to optimize the catch and to minimize ecological damage.
For some regions, this may be a cheaper and cleaner way of getting to fresh water than either desalination (which is quite polluting), rerouting rivers and building canals or pipelines, or tapping rivers and shipping the water (like some are planning to do).
The platform has other advantages: it doesn't pollute shorelines, it can't be seen from ashore, and it's not a likely terrorist target (which other water infrastructures are, especially dams).
This may well be the equivalent of the offshore oil industry, since some are already calling drinking water the blue gold of the 21st century.
(?) Six year benchmark tropical rain climatology
As you can see, most rain falls in the oceans [django, Oct 04 2004]
(?) A Source Without the Upfront Costs
..and one berg can supply a liter a day for everyone in the world for four years.. [bpilot, Oct 04 2004]
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||//My idea: put huge plastic platforms in these ocean zones, of say 10 square kilometres. The platform will float and catch this relatively clean rainwater.//
Easy to say - hard to do!
||What about all the seagulls that are going to call this plastic platform home? Do you think they'll have the decency not to poop on the plastic?
||[destructionism] you're right, I completely forgot about this possibility.
||There must be a way to keep them off, though.
||Yarrrr! These bountiful platforms will be sittin' ducks fer me and me crew! Er... Yarrrr!
||You'd need to sort out wind blown salt as well, the idea's worth working on though.
||Bird doodoo isn't the problem. You've got that from birds flying over and swimming in reservoirs as well. The plastic would be ripped apart by even moderately rough seas.
||Water is not the problem. Money is the problem.