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SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation - Learning Resouce supports the SDGs - UN-Guidelines[1]

Water is an inorganic chemical compound with the molecular formula H2O. This learning resource starts with and example of a Solar Seawater Still (SSS) and guides the learner trough chemical and physical properties that are necessary to understand SSS, refers to sea water and drinking water in the example and analyse the introduces to the effects of pollution of water on health. Further readings to that


Desalination - Solar Seawater Still (SSS)[edit]

Prototype of Solar Seawater Still

Desalination - Solar Seawater Still (SSS): Water is a precious good especial in dry areas. In hot and dry areas the sun provides the heat for evaporation. On the left you see a seawater still, that destills fresh water from salty seawater.

    • Explain how a Solar Seawater Still works!
    • Analyse the background of Solar Stills and try to suggest a improvements of the setup (e.g. fresh water collector directly under the seawater container).
    • Measure temperature differences in soil according to depth (underground. If the temperature difference is high between surface temperature and depth of fresh water collector condensation works better. Try to build you own Solar Still and collect data about amount of fresh water amount retrieved from the SSS per hour with certain environmental conditions.
    • Upload snapshots about your Solar Seawater Still (SSS) on Wikiversity and explain how you collected data with your experimental design.
    • Look for areas on the globe, where your Solar Seawarter Still could be applied (availability of seawater, not enough or contaminated freshwater, temperature conditions).
    • (Windpump and Seawater Transport) With wind energy sea water could be transported from coasted areas to arid zones, that have no direct access to seawater. Analyse possibilities to transport sea water to hot dessert regions on the globe. Does that extend the geographical areas of application for your SSS? Create an SSS application map with OpenLayers, that shows areas in a heatmap[2] were the areas in red are the hot areas that can benefit from Solar Seawater Stills.
    • (Solar Water DISinfection SODIS) Compare the concept of an Solar Still with Solar Water Disinfection[3][4]! What are similarities and differences between those concepts?
SODIS application in Indonesia using clear PET plastic beverage bottles
Sea Water as a Resource for Drinking Water
Windpump tjasker used in the Netherlands for drainage. Apply on seawater transport from coastal regions
A multi-bladed windpump on a farm in Iowa
A windpump is a type of windmill which is used for pumping water. Water transport by Wind. The image shows the windpump De Olifant at Burdaard, Friesland

Chemical and physical properties[edit]

Analyse the chemical and physical properties of water and explain why this is relevant for the comprehension of the Solar Water Still.

Effects of Water on Life[edit]

Study the effects of water in life. The Solar Water Still is just one method to provide the necessary water for life.

  • What other sources of water do exist to allow plants and animals to survive?
  • Where is water necessary in the life cycle of plants and animals? Explain in detail according to biological background knowledge!

Health and Polution[edit]

Solar Water Still for treatment of polluted water

Water pollution of different types create be a risk for human, animal and environmental health. Learn about Risk Management and apply that on water pollution and health. Pharmaceuticals are helpful in health services, but it is also a difficult task to remove the pharmaceutical in wast water treatment[5] (see also Water:Health and Pollution). Analyse the Solar Water Still in the image on right and try to explain the why a treatment of water can be performed with the solar water still. Can the water be used for a greenhouse. Explain how to deal with a toxic waste in the upper water container with the polluted water.

Sustainable Development Goals[edit]

Analyse the United Nations Concept of Sustainable Developement Goals.

  • On first approach only two SDGs seem to refer to water. Systems Thinking applied on the topic water will lead to many more SDG that are effected by water. Try to analyse every single SDG and explain how water plays a role in the accomplishment of these goals.

Learning Task[edit]

Map of the Earth with a six-metre sea level rise represented in red.

This learning resource will focus on how water important for life on earth.

  • (Water Resouces) There is a lot of water on earth but drinking water is rare.
    • Determine the percentage of water available on earth, that can be used as drinking water.
    • Analyse the overploitation of water and link commercial exploitation of ground water to the access to water for local population.
    • Analyse the contamination of drinking water on earth. Explain sources for contamination of the precious resource drinking water?
  • (Global Warming) An important fraction of drinking water (find out, how much) is stored in polar ice and ice in glaciers.
    • Try to find out how much drinking water we might loose if global warming melts the polar ice and the ice in glaciers.
    • Perform a basic Risk Management for regions on earth that might be affected by a rising sea level. How many citizens (population) must migrate.
    • Explain the impact of water evaporation in the context of global warming[6].
  • (Mapping of Risk and Resources) Water is a precious resource that is necessary for survival of flora and fauna on earth.
  • (Chemical Formula) The following questions analyse topic water from the angle of chemistry:
    • Why is the inorganic compound with the molecular formula H2O very stable?
    • If you burn hydrogen heat is generated heat (Link History: Zeppelin Hindenburg at Lake Hurst and the product is water. Why is heat generated and what lighted the hydrogen in the Zeppelin, so that water is generated. Why could the generated water not extinguish the fire in the exploding Zeppelin.
    • You can generated water by using hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell. This electrochemical cell converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through an electrochemical reaction. Analyse the chemical processes and why could this concept be used for Electric Mobility? Analyse the quantity of water production and conclude if that concept will be able to produce water as a resource!
    • Explore why we have on earth so much water and just a little amount of gold! The answer to this question may lead you to physics and the big bang!

Information for Teachers[edit]

water condensation in a Wok

Target Groups[edit]

  • (Primary Schools) Explore water evaporation and condensation in pot on the oven. This can be explore in by video taken with a smartphone in the kitchen and shared/presented on a data projector in schools. Pupils should explain what they observe. Use salty water in pot and condensed water. Taste of cold salted water should be compared with the taste of collected condensed water (taste the salt removal).
  • (Secondary Schools) Explore physical and chemical properties of water according to evaporation and condensation (curriculum). Energy consumption on the oven. Refer to Solar Water Still and Green Energy.
  • (Engineering) Optimize technical design of Solar Water Still.
  • (Physics University) Modelling of Fresh Water production of Solar Water Still (Bachelor of Science).


See also[edit]


  1. UN-Guidelines for Use of SDG logo and the 17 SDG icons (2016/10) - http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/UN-Guidelines-for-Use-of-SDG-logo-and-17-icons.October-2016.pdf
  2. OpenLayers Heatmap - API Documentation (accessed 2017/09/12) - https://openlayers.org/en/latest/apidoc/ol.layer.Heatmap.html - Heatmap Example: http://openlayers.org/en/latest/examples/heatmap-earthquakes.html?q=Heatmap
  3. Wegelin, M., Canonica, S., Mechsner, K., Fleischmann, T., Pesaro, F., & Metzler, A. (1994). Solar water disinfection: scope of the process and analysis of radiation experiments. Aqua, 43(4), 154-169.
  4. SODIS Solar Disinfection - Web Portal - (accessed 2017/09/11) - http://www.sodis.ch/index_EN
  5. Ternes, T. A., Meisenheimer, M., McDowell, D., Sacher, F., Brauch, H. J., Haist-Gulde, B., ... & Zulei-Seibert, N. (2002). Removal of pharmaceuticals during drinking water treatment. Environmental science & technology, 36(17), 3855-3863.
  6. Held, I. M., & Soden, B. J. (2000). Water vapor feedback and global warming. Annual review of energy and the environment, 25(1), 441-475.