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A gadget which makes water out of thin air could become the greatest household invention since the microwave. Using the same technology as a de-humidifier, the Water Mill is able to create a ready supply of drinking water by capturing it from an unlimited source  -  the air.

The company behind the machine says not only does it offer an alternative to bottled water in developed countries, but it is a solution for the millions who face a daily water shortage.The machine works by drawing in moist air through a filter and over a cooling element which condenses it into water droplets.

It can produce up to 12 litres a day. The Water Mill will also generate more water when storms pass over, as the humidity in the air increases. In keeping with its eco-development, the machine uses the same amount of electricity as three light bulbs.

Inventor Jonathan Ritchey said: 'The demand for water is off the chart. People are looking for freedom from water distribution systems that are shaky and unreliable.'The machine, which is about 3ft wide, is likely to cost £800 when it goes on sale in the UK in the spring.Its maker, Canadian firm Element Four, estimates that a litre of water will cost around 20p to produce.

Environmentalists claim half the world's population will face water shortages because of climate change by 2080. One in five humans is said to lack access to safe drinking water. The Water Mill is not effective in areas with below about 30 per cent relative humidity, but with average relative humidity in Britain of more than 70 per cent that won't be much of an issue here.

 
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