Dr. Samuel Otukol, a Ugandan has invented a Water Distillation System Process (DSP) which works by evaporating salty or unclean water at low temperatures before it is condensed into fresh water. Using this technology, condensation is achieved at a much lower cost than using reverse osmosis.
Otukol, the President of Ultimate Water Solutions with a background in forestry, created the DSP to make alternative sources of viable drinking water available in drought ridden areas or where only sea water is available. In a recent interview, Otukol recalled how severe the drought in his home area in Uganda was, which forced him to trek long distances to search for water.
Drought is major feature in most East African countries and occurs when there is a long period of low rainfall in a particular region. In 2011, a severe drought occurred in several East African countries such as Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Somalia, caused by an ocean-atmosphere disturbance known as La Nina.
The drought, which interrupted rainfall for two consecutive seasons, led to a mass crop failure and about 50 percent loss of livestock, also caused a shortage in crop harvest and milk production. As a result, the price of food was inflated. About 9.5 million people were in need of assistance and at the end of the drought in 2013, over 100,000 people died as a result of starvation, diseases and other causes.
Farmers typically suffer the most in a drought because with water shortages, they are not usually able to meet crop water demands. Also, because water sourced during the drought period is often polluted by chemicals, access to clean water is limited.
Droughts also reduce availability of electricity and the economy is usually adversely affected because of this reduction in crop exports.
For African countries with poor electricity supply, the Water Distillation System Process also works with solar energy so that many countries can benefit from its ability to mitigate the unpleasant effects of drought.