In our quest for survival, humans have always sought new frontiers. In exploring these frontiers, we have gained knowledge revealing new possibilities for the future of water conservation.
Kofi Annan: “I often quote an Africa proverb that says: The world is not ours, the earth is not ours. It’s a treasure we hold in trust for future generations. And I hope we will be worthy of that trust”.
Isabel Allende: “We need a global approach. We need the scientist to create new technologies, we need the engineers to create the networks, and we need every human being to be aware of how precious water is. Don’t waste it”.

From the hunter bushmen in the Kalahari Desert to a NASA spaceship, this episode examines water scarcity problems. In ancient times when tribes set out to find new lands, their basic need for fresh water guided them. Many faiths regard water as a link to the spirit of life. Our search for water still plays a major role in the exploration of Earth however science is now playing an important role.In this episode of “Water – The Drop of Life”, we focus on the never-ending search for water: its accumulation, safeguarding and conservation.
In Chungungo, Chile a low tech method is used to capture mist and fog in nets, handling chronic water problems. Lessons from ancient peoples often endure in places that suffer from lack of water. In the city of Petra in Jordan, known as the mystic city, lessons can be learned from ancient engineers, providing the town with a network of wadis, channels and terraces, plus dams, pipes and cisterns, to collect and deliver water to a civilization of 30.000 peoples. In Australia, a cattle breeder gains knowledge from the Aborigines. In Yemen, groundwater tables are sinking so vast that this country might be the first to run dry. Cities like Los Angeles are facing some of the same challenges as Yemen. In Egypt an effort is under way to transform the desert into a fruitful oasis using a new technology called DriWater.

As one may well imagine, water is a critical resource aboard spaceships. Space missions have one thing in common: the challenge of using and reusing water. It is at NASA’s Advanced Life Support Lab that high-tech, efficient and compact systems are being developed so space missions can recycle and reuse every available resource – including water from showers, laundry and even urine!

Reverse osmosis is a very promising method of reducing the cost of desalination. The methods used can include freezing, distilling the water, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet light purification to kill viruses and bacteria, oxidation to disinfect water, micro filtration and ultrafiltration to filter out solid waste and larger bacteria.

Themes in this episode: Water Scarcity, Ancient Water Supply Systems, Cisterns, High Tech Conservation, Recycling Wastewater, and Desalination.
VIPs in this episode: Isabel Allende, Queen Noor, Shimon Peres, Ted Danson, and Kofi Annan. Johan Cruijf, The Dalai Lama.

Locations in this episode: Namibia, Jordan, Australia, Chile, Mexico, Egypt Texas (USA), Yemen, The Netherlands,
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