The value of water

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The value of water

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The story

All Earth's water, liquid fresh water, and water in lakes and rivers. Credit: Howard Perlman, USGS

As human population grows and pollution levels rise, our demand for clean water increases but its supply dwindles. How long will it be before our planet cannot provide its population with enough clean water to survive?
Some would say that this is already happening..

Japanese design company, Takram, was asked to design a water bottle that could be used to used to ensure that we could get enough daily water to survive if the worst case scenario become reality. But they went one step further and designed a set of cyborg organs, the Hydrolemic System, that could be used to reduce water loss from the body in order to keep intake down to a minimum.

The video shows how they would work.

Teaching ideas and resource

This would fit in nicely with a lesson on homeostasis and controlling water levels.

You could introduce the scenario of a future with humans on the brink of extinction because of lack of water. The video up to 0:35 shows this in a suitably dramatic fashion. You could then question on them why this lack of clean water is a problem: what do we need water for anyway, how do we get it and why is it lost from our bodies? The video then goes on to show daily average water input and output.

I have designed a quick starter activity which can be used alongside this clip.



If this water input was to be reduced, what could be done to make sure the human body could survive on less water? The body parts from the Hydrolemic System are designed to do this. Examples of the gadgets included in the system are a bladder that increases urine concentration and nasal cavity inserts which are designed to inhibit the loss of water through exhalation.

Looking at these would be an excellent way of applying what the students know about how water is lost from the body. Perhaps they could design their own cyborg body parts before they are shown the rest of the video, or you could give groups a diagram of one part (from the weblink below) and ask them to come up with advertising material to be used to explain what the gadget does, how it works and why people in this post-apocalyptic world should consider buying one.


The Hydrolemic System from Takram. More information on the body parts, images and diagrams.