If there's one thing that most of us can still take comfort from in this messed-up world, it's that we can still get clean drinking water from our taps. It might not be perfect, especially if you live in a hard water area and need to take your water on a detour via a water filter jug, but at least it's safe to drink.
Okay, that's not true for absolutely everybody, and for those people (or for anyone interested in sticking it to Big Water) there's an exciting new possibility on the way. Kara Pure (opens in new tab) sounds magical when you first hear about it; the pitch is that it turns air into pure drinking water, and can generate around 10 litres of pure alkaline drinking water every day, so it's ready to fill up the best water bottle any time you like.
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Impressive, I thought, until I remembered that time years ago when I lived in a really damp student house. It turns out that it's actually quite easy to pull lots of water out of thin air, you just need a decent dehumidifier.
The problem with that, though, is that it's not really drinking water. I've just done a bit of research and confirmed that you definitely shouldn't drink the water (opens in new tab) collected inside a dehumidifier. For starters, it's likely packed with all manner of harmful contaminants picked up during the dehumidification process, and secondly it's essentially distilled water, which may sound pure but which in reality isn't very nice to drink because it lacks all the usual minerals that give drinking water its flavour. You thought drinking water didn't taste of anything? Think again.
The Kara Pure does things differently, heating and filtering captured air at 100 - 260°C to destroy 99.9 per cent of germs, then using a special UV-C filtration system on the water produced, enhancing it with the essential minerals that give tap water its flavour and health benefits (Calcium, Lithium, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Strontium and Metasilicic acid), and bumping the pH up to a more palatable 9.2+ (or thereabouts) before passing it again through a UV-C filter and a carbon filter before pouring.
It's a good-looking device with just a hint of a minimal Dyson feel to it, and as an added bonus it works as an air purifier as well as a water generator; Kara Pure suggests that one machine will purify 250-300 square feet.
So what's the catch? The biggest barrier, I reckon, is the price; it's currently available through Indiegogo at $1,349, while at retail it'll cost $2,299, and as you might expect there'll be an ongoing filter cost. Filters are expected to last for one year, and you can order them for $100 each through Indiegogo, while at retail they're estimated to start at $150.
There's also the cost of electricity. Naturally it's near-impossible to put a cash figure on that at the moment, however Kara Pure says that at 60% humidity it takes 1,490 watts to create a litre of water, and that at full operation the device uses 580 watts per hour; if you can find out the price of your electricity supply then you ought to be able to work out how much it'd cost you to run. Finally there's the question of noise; again Kara Pure is pretty upfront about this, stating that it makes a little noise while it's creating water, but that it's not a noisy machine.
In short, I'm still intrigued. I don't think you're likely to save money by using the Kara Pure, but it could definitely provide you with an improvement on your current tap water. If you want to find out more and place an order, hit up the Kara Pure Indiegogo page (opens in new tab).