Look, it's very simple. All you need to solve the water shortage is a giant metal leaf that you put in the desert and it uses solar power to grow ice. Then you drink the ice. How is this difficult?
Okay, this is not completely for real. The leaf's creators don't think it will singlehandedly solve the water shortage. But the solar desert ice farm itself, called SunGlacier, is kind of a serious idea. In fact, the refrigeration company that would build the thing has already managed to create a four-inch-thick chunk of ice in controlled desert-like conditions (104 degress, 22 percent humidity). Now all that remains is to build a 2,153 square foot metal leaf shape with solar panels all over it. Problem: solved. If your problem is "no metal leaf shape has yet been big enough to satisfy me."
If you think this all sounds and looks sort of artsy-fartsy, you're not wrong. SunGlacier is the brainchild of Dutch artist Ap Verheggen, and yeah, it's all a little hand-wavey. Verheggen's point isn't that we can solve the water crisis with giant desert leaf structures — it's just that we can solve the water crisis, period.
"The project demonstrates that in a totally hopeless environment you can still generate hope. The message is that what many call the looming water crisis is not inevitable. There are solutions, and it all depends on human ingenuity. It all depends on us," Verheggen told the New York Times.