Feb. 27, 2013— -- An innovative billboard in Lima, Peru is producing much-needed drinking water out of thin air for residents of the desert city.
Researchers at Lima's University of Engineering and Technology teamed up with an ad agency to set up the billboard that would advertise their university and recruit prospective applicants in this novel way.
The "water production" process involves humid air filtering within the billboard, which condenses the water through reverse osmosis, according to a promotional video. The water is held in a storage tank, and residents can use a faucet at the foot of the billboard to take what they need. The billboard has generated about 2,500 gallons of water in three months, and it's helped hundreds of families.
Lima has nearly 8.5 million residents, making it one of the largest capitals in the world. Some portions of the city receive less than an inch of rain annually, though humidity in the costal city often tops 90 percent.
In the United States, researchers have found that billboards have negative financial and economic impacts on communities, but this may give them food for thought.
In the promotional video from Peru, one satisfied resident suggests putting filtration systems in billboards "in each village or town."
"So that water can be generated through these billboards," says Francisco Quilca. "Water that truly gives us life."