Drinking water from thin air

Article image - Drinking water from thin air

Yuelamu is one of 12 remote communities making up Central Desert Regional Council, Northern Territory. 


Last year, the dam supplying drinking water for the 220 people of the community, nearly 300km north-west of Alice Springs, became contaminated by toxic blue green algae.

Since then, the community had been relying on water shipped in to the community or the ground water which is of questionable quality.

Council secured funding from the Northern Territory Government to install a community array of 30 Hydropanels in Yuelamu. 

Community members can now access fresh, drinking water direct from a tap or dispenser.

The Hydropanels use only air and solar power to collect water vapour from the air, which turns into water and is then mineralised by adding calcium and magnesium, placed in an ozonator and then piped to a tap or tank. 

It doesn’t require any extra infrastructure and can work in less than 10 percent humidity, so even in the desert it can make water ‘out of thin air’. 

Council won the 2020 Territory Tidy Towns Awards: Water Conservation Innovation Award for the project.