Tech Company Makes Water from Thin Air: A Desperately Needed Solution for Drought and Disaster Relief

Company Illustration: Pulling Water from Air. Credit: Watergen

Water. It seems to be everywhere…until it’s not. While about 71% of the earth’s surface is covered in water,1 30% of our planet’s population live in dry areas. That means 2.5 billion people face droughts and water scarcity.2 Innovative solutions are desperately needed to meet ever-increasing demands for freshwater where it is not easily found.

Watergen, an Israeli company, is gaining international attention and awards for its “Atmospheric Water Generation” technology that literally makes water out of thin air. To be more precise, Watergen uses a heat exchange and cooling process to extract water vapor from air. The CEO of the U.S. division of the company, who is also a longtime environmental advocate, summed up the process this way: “Essentially, this technology is making rain in a box on-demand and ready for human consumption just about anywhere in the world.” 3

If you are wondering how the process differs from your home humidifier, here is a more detailed explanation: Once air is cooled to the dew point to create water, it is then purified, and minerals are added to balance acidity/alkalinity. The self-contained machine is highly energy efficient. The larger units can produce up to 5 liters of water with one kilowatt of energy. 4 The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) was so impressed with the innovation, it named the Watergen GENNY (a home/office model) winner of the Energy Efficiency Product of the Year in the 2020 Smart Home Mark of Excellence Awards at its 2020 convention. 5

The company’s home or office generator can produce about 8 gallons (30 liters) of freshwater each day (the equivalent of 54 water bottles) and the company’s largest unit that is intended for villages and off-grid settlements can produce up to 5,000 liters of water per day. 6

Watch this video of the GEN-M middle scale (up to 211 gallons/800 liters/day) atmospheric water generator that one of the company’s South American distributors installed in the Eco Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Watergen has also developed an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) that carries a diesel generator to power the unit’s GEN-M atmospheric water generator to natural disaster sites. In the U.S., the unit has been used by FEMA and the Red Cross in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Michael, and California wildfires.

You can watch this CNN video about “How Tech That Turns Air into Water Helps First Responders”: here.


1USGS. How Much Water Is There on Earth?

2CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems. The World’s Dry Areas.

3Russo ER. Can Atmospheric Water Generation Help Solve the Global Water Crisis? 9 August 2019. Water Online.

4WSJ Business. Man vs. Nature – How to Overcome the Water Crisis. (Paid content)

5Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Mark of Excellence Awards. 8 January 2020.

6Watergen. Our Products.

Video: Watergen GEN-M Machine in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 12 November 2019.

Video: CNN Business. “How Tech That Turns Air into Water Helps First Responders.” 3 February 2019.


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