The inaugural LAUNCH: Water was held at NASA Kennedy Space Center. There the selected 10 Water Innovators presented their innovations which included transformative ideas, technology and research which addressed water sustainability challenges in areas that included water efficient vertical farming systems, low cost bacterial water testing, water contaminant floating sensor network, carbon credit financed water purification system, electro-chemical arsenic removal system and evaporation-based underground irrigation technology among others.
LAUNCH: WATER CHALLENGE STATEMENT
The Earth, with its diverse and abundant life forms, including over 6 billion humans, is facing a serious water crisis.
In the developing world, the crisis is borne disproportionately by poor and underserved people. These populations are blighted by the burdens of water-related disease, lack of access to clean water for drinking and sanitation, and inadequate levels of water for food and sustenance. In the developed world, the crisis is caused by the persistent undervaluing of water, the inefficient use of water in agriculture and industry, the increasingly codependent relationship between water and energy, and the ever-increasing demand for water from consumers.
Furthermore, many natural water sources are compromised by waste from industrial, agricultural, and other human enterprises. Entire ecosystems are marred by altering natural water ways to service demand where little supply exists. These extreme, short-term measures continue without regard for the consequences to this and future generations.
The threat of an impending water crisis affects all of us. Society bears an urgent responsibility to not only implement widespread conservation measures but to develop bold, innovative, potentially disruptive approaches to reengineer the balance between human activity and this most vital resource. We need to find new technologies and scientific advancements, new models, and new organizations that collectively will help move society from water crisis to water sustainability.