First assignment of group n° 120
First description of our project
DWO - Drinking Water Optimisation
What Problem do you want to solve ?
It’s so easy to consume water that we throw away millions of litres.
While an American consumes 600 litres of water per day, a French citizen is consuming 137 litres, and a Sub-Saharan only 10. Among these, some studies revealed that only 7% of the water we consume is used for our alimentation. What are used the other 93% for?
Let’s see some figures:
- Flush: 10 litres
- Shower: 60 to 80 litres
- Bath: 150 to 200 litres
- Washing machine: 90 litres
- Dishwasher: 25 to 60 litres
Even though one has to admit that it is hard to cut down all these habits for now, we can still put some efforts in trying to reduce the consumption of drinkable water.
That is exactly the challenge we want to deal with: optimise our resources of drinkable water. Concretely, we are planning to reuse drinkable water to redirect them in domestic facilities that doesn’t necessarily need fresh and clean water.
Why does this problem exist?
Natural resources are finite and non-renewable, and we put harsh pressure on them. Extraction destroys landscapes and natural ecosystems. Some solutions are slowly raising up, but depleting actual resources will put future generations in a situation of material and resources penury.
What does it mean?
It means that the quantity of freshwater available is currently 6 600 cubic meters of water per year and per person, and this number is going to fall under 1 700 cubic meters for more than half of the world, within a decade.
783 million is the number of person who still doesn’t have access to drinking water, which means 11% of the world population.
If nothing changes, the situation would get even worth; by perpetuating this consumption habits, scientists plan a “hydraulic stress situation” for the horizon 2025. Meanwhile, the world’s population should reach 9, 5 billion people in 2050. It means that the demand of water is going to rise up to 55%! How will we feed everybody? We would have to improve our productivity and, in fact, our water consumption. That is why we should start to focus on all several possibilities to reduce as much as possible the use of drinkable water. The problem we want to solve is concerning one of those solutions.
What breakthrough are you commited to creating?
If one takes a look at the several ways to clean dirty water, including i.e. filters (natural or mechanical), chemicals, holding ponds or other storage facilities, it is pretty obvious that it is our responsibility to start putting things forward in order to change our habits.
We would like someone to create a system which takes the water coming from the shower in order to supply the toilets, so as it could function independently from drinkable water supply. During a shower, the water could be collected and stocked in a tank, where micro-particles and main bacteria would be filtered. We chose the shower as it’s the most consuming water element in the house.
So, from now on, we put this forward in order to promote the idea of reducing drinking water consumption. The sense of our approach is to let anyone think of a concrete project that would solve this problem. Ideally, our solution can be applied in existing houses, as well as houses that are going to be built. We want to provide a solution easily buildable and cheap. And once the solution found, we would like to unable anybody to build up its own system at home that works in entire autonomy.
We really hope that our project will be successful in order to expand our solution to the entire house (washing machine, dishwasher…). Indeed, if we think further, we are trying to give a start to a general movement committing the reduction of our water consumption at home. We truly believe that by finding a solution to the problem of toilet’s supply, it will urge further researches in order to allow a house to work in quasi-autonomy (concerning water supply).
What interest for you?
The more people you are in a house, the more you consume water. Furthermore, water is a limited resource, that’s why it might get more and more expensive by the time. Our project is multidimensional: on the one hand, it has an ethic and environmental dimension and on the other hand, an economic interest.
Potential experts already identified
Please mention the potential experts (name, affiliation, likelihood to convince him/her to join the final panel)
- Laure Chiarella - Engineer urban and fluvial hydraulics engineer - Ecole polytechnique universitaire de Lille
- INGEROP - Water and environnement - Villeneuve D’Ascq
- City hall Lille - Environnement pole
Resources used by the team