The United Nations reports nearly 40% of the world’s population experiences severe water scarcity each year, with 700 million people at risk of displacement by 2030. Nations in the Middle East Asia and Africa are facing record droughts, leading to “climate refugees”, who travel to other countries to seek places that have better water availability, creating further hydro-political tensions.
As more nations on great rivers build unprecedented levels of dam and water extraction facilities, they are leaving countries further downstream increasingly thirsty, increasing the risk of conflicts. This is evident with the Nile River, as Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia all depend on inflow from the Blue Nile. But, the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project, the largest hydropower project in Africa, has nations on temporary reduction of water availability due to the filling of the reservoir and a permanent reduction because of evaporation from the reservoir.
Turkey is currently building 22 dams and power plants along the Tigris and the Euphrates that, according to a report by the French International Office for Water, is significantly affecting the flow of water into Syria, Iraq and Iran. It claims that when complete, Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolia Project (Guneydogu Anadolu Projesi) could include as many as 90 dams and 60 power plants. As water levels for Turkey’s dams rose, the flow from the river into Iraq halved and the quality of the water deteriorated.
Around the world, there’s plenty of examples where tensions are high due to water— the Aral Sea conflict comprising Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; the Jordan River conflict amongst the Levantine states; the Mekong River dispute between China and its neighbors in Southeast Asia. More and more nations will face water disputes, and water will play a critical factor in wars in the next coming decades.
Sustainable Water Management for the Department of Defense
Water is critical to the success of overseas contingency operations for the Department of Defense. It is used for drinking, food preparation, laundering, and centralized hygiene. And the DoD is not immune to the challenges associated with supply and demand of water resources. Water shortages can significantly impact military readiness through reduced training opportunities and limited operational capacity.
The U.S. military currently operates in more than 500 installations worldwide including Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) like in Afghanistan and Iraq without water production, treatment, or sanitation to large domestic bases that function as established municipalities. And the need for water is just as great in the armed forces and the wider Department of Defense (DOD), where sustainment costs for water and fuel routinely exceed 30% of the gross Operations & Maintenance budget.
Indeed, in some locations the DOD routinely pays in excess of $5.00 per gallon for drinkable water. During operations in Iraq, soldiers used approximately one million bottles of water per month. And between 2007 and 2008 in Iraq and Afghanistan, one coalition member was killed or wounded for every 100 water resupply convoys. This translated to the loss of 68 lives in just one year.
Today, the U.S. military relies on costly desalination plants and reverse osmosis units to purify contaminated saline water or must have bottled water delivered by vehicle or aviation assets. According to Army War College study published in 2019, The U.S. Army is “precipitously close to mission failure” when it comes to hydrating soldiers in the kinds of contested, arid environments.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), nearly 102 U.S. bases are facing water scarcity (2019). Genesis Systems offers the ability for the Department of Defense to sustainably produce water at the point of need without a requirement for access to standing or underground water sources and without need for constant resupply.
Genesis Systems was founded in 2016 with the purpose of creating a sustainable, affordable, and efficient solution to the global water crisis. Their mission is to solve global water scarcity with sustainable green technologies while providing unmatched products and value to humanity. Genesis Systems plans to provide is Water as a Service (WaaS) & water sale agreements to high-use customers (such as manufacturing and communities).
Genesis Systems utilizes Atmospheric Water Generation technology, which produces drinking water from humidity in the air. Typically, water absorption technologies refrigerate incoming air using cooling coils to chill air to the dewpoint or regenerate solid silica desiccants. But Genesis Systems patented process employs a carefully managed thermal dynamic process and multi-stage liquid absorber to capture fresh water — even at high air temperatures and low humidity levels.
Genesis Systems technology is 70- 80% more efficient than any other known validated atmospheric water generation technology. The use of legacy technologies is untenable, given the energy requirements required to chill approximately 500,000 cubic feet of air per hour to make 5,000 gallons of water per day.
Genesis Systems’ patented process is called Hyper Water Phasing which is accomplished inside a water generation system called Aqua-GEN. The Aqua-GEN water generation is available in portable and fixed site configurations in either 40’ or two 20’ containerized units and are capable of being transported via truck, rail, or aircraft. This allows rapid deployment as vital assets to ensure the resiliency of an array of operations, such as field hospitals, military bases, aboard ships, and to support places where water supplies are disrupted by natural disasters.
Aqua-GEN can produce between 1,000 and 10 million gallons of water per day from the air in arid conditions as dry as 18% Relative Humidity (RH) and temperatures ranging from 40°F to 120°F. In 2021, Genesis Systems debuted WaterCube, a one-of-a-kind water generator that makes 1,000–2,000 gallons a day from air using Nano-liquids. WaterCube systems are the most efficient freshwater production systems on Earth that scale-up.
The water production of one 5,000 gallon per day portable system can save an equivalent of 230 C-17 sorties when stacked end-to-end with pallets of bottled water. Genesis can potentially supply reliable freshwater throughout the military at prices as low as $.0025 per gallon, at a savings of greater than 90% over current DOD costs. Currently, units are sold at $650,000 apiece.
Genesis Systems was incubated by FedTech, via U.S. Army Futures Command, and has won multiple U.S. Air Force grants and competitions including U.S. Army X-Tech Search 5, The Department of Defense Reimagining Energy Challenge, and letters of technical merit from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.
In March 2020, Genesis Systems showcased its capabilities at the Indo-Pacific Command’s (U.S. INDOPACOM) Pacific Operational Science and Technology Conference in Hawaii. Following the event, Genesis received verbal commitments from U.S. Navy, U.S. EUCOM, U.S. CENTCOM, U.S. INDOPACOM, and the Australian military.
If the military should choose to implement Genesis’ fixed site systems at bases, the company can build and field units that produce up to 10 million gallons a day in less than 8 months. Production time to build portable units is as little as 60 days and up to 90 days, volume dependent.
Retired Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, former University President for the Air Force’s University (Air University), is now the Chief Global Officer of Genesis Systems. He was raised in a remote African tribe in Cameroon, and has witnessed the impact of water scarcity firsthand. He has since graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in Astronautical Engineering and holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
He is just one of many incredible staff that will lead Genesis Systems for global water sustainment. The company has 20 team members and plans to add 125 new jobs in Tampa over the next five years.
Dual-Use Capabilities of Genesis Systems
Genesis Systems technology focuses on serving not just the needs of military, but also industries that require large amounts of water, like agriculture, energy, tourism, hospitals, emergency response, and municipal water supplies. Genesis Systems is in partnership with Port of San Antonio’s Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT) to serve as an integral learning laboratory and support numerous educational programs.
In the commercial sector, Genesis is conducting site and pilot plant assessments with organizations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Additionally, the governments of Australia, Gambia, Chile and others have asked Genesis to bring water solutions to their national infrastructures.
In summary, more and more conflicts will arise in water-stress or water-scarce nations, and wars will be fought for access to water. Technologies like Genesis Systems will provide an efficient and inexpensive access to water, not just for military, but for civilians as well.