KEYES, Calif. — When Martha Lorenzo was told she could get clean drinking water simply by installing some panels and extracting moisture from the air, she was in disbelief.
"I could hardly believe it because I had never heard of such a thing. It was like, what are you going to do? How does it work?" said Lorenzo, whose home sits in an agricultural area near Keyes.
In April, Lorenzo had three solar, hydro panels installed outside her home by the company Source Global, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The panels absorb water vapor pulled from the air.
Connected to a line under a panel and run into her home, she gets about nine to 11 gallons of drinking water every day.
"We're able to get the water for our cooking, drinking," Lorenzo said, adding that it's plenty for the four people that live in her home, which includes two grandchildren.
The water comes from a number of sources including humidity from plants and trees and much more on rainy or foggy days.
"With this technology, we can provide drinking water to any part of the planet that are hard to reach with traditional water lines or having to drink out of a plastic bottle. People can now have a clean source of drinking water at a tap inside their home for the very first time," said Colin Goddard, vice president of business development in the United States for Source Global.
He says the company has been creating their system since 2014, and that 52 countries have Source Global systems.
Valley Water Collaborative, a non-profit, supplies the system for the Lorenzo household. Instead of supplying countless bottles of water to Lorenzo, Valley Water Collaborative wanted something more sustainable, so they gave Source Global a try.
It's a pilot project for homeowners whose wells are contaminated by agricultural runoff that includes harmful levels of nitrates. It's paid for through assessments on growers and others who contributed to the problem.
"If you have contamination in your water, yeah, it is certainly worth considering and it's a viable option for individuals that are in a contaminated area," said executive director Parry Klassen. "None of the pollutants that are in the air are taken into the system."
Klassen says the non-profit is observing the Source Global system for a year. If all goes well, more homes will be added to the pilot program.
Source Global says each panel costs $2,000 and supplies eight gallons of water a day. Lorenzo's installed three-panel system costs $8,000.