Clean Energy, Clean Water

Reader Contribution by Madeline Hyden

Extreme weather, including hurricanes and flooding, not only wreak havoc on landscapes and homes, but also on the water supply. Recent flooding in the Midwest and residual flooding effects of Hurricane Katrina left flood waters laden with sewage contamination.

The most obvious form of water disinfection is boiling, but solar water disinfection is a way to use renewable energy to clean drinking water without using energy from the stove. All you need is a clear glass or plastic bottle and a sunny day. The sunlight cleans the water with radiation via UVA rays and by increasing the water’s temperature.

To disinfect water, fill the clean bottle with contaminated water and close the lid. Place the bottles out in the sun for six hours, from morning until evening. Some recommend using corrugated iron sheets to keep the bottles from rolling, but placing them on your roof also works well. This Web site has illustrated instructions.