Reclaim unproductive Desert Land while providing the poor with an economic chance
Reclaim unproductive Desert Land while providing the poor with an economic chance
Reverse Desertification, Mitigate Soil Degradation, Improve ground water recharge, Reduce groundwater demand
A2WH (Air to Water Harvest)
© A2WH.COM LLC Jan 2006 – All Rights Reserved
700 million people migrating by 2030 but we can prevent it
Around the world there are over 4.7 billion acres of of desertified land, degraded land and desert land that could be viable for agriculture if there was adequate water available and the degraded soil could be revitalized. Much of this land is in countries where the ultra poor are trying to grow enough to survive but are seeing their crop yields drop year after year. Every year we lose an additional 29.6 million acres to degraded land and many of the people depending on this land are forced to migrate to the city in an attempt to feed their families. The United Nations (U.N.) indicates that 700 million people at risk of displacement by 2030 due to water scarcity. Migration casued by water scarcity is closely linked to soil degradation ( desertification) because as the soil degrades it requires more water. By revitalizing soil quality it is possible to produce more food with less water. This is complicated because many of the affected people are dependent on the meat produced from this grazing and food grown using the pumped water so just asking these people to reduce the number of animals or asking them to reduce pumping is doomed to failure.
In many countries the difference between perpetual poverty is the ability to grow sustenance and a little extra food on their own land. The accumulation of debt due to poverty can contribute to the need to migrate. The United Nations report indicates that over grazing and over pumping ground water are primary contributors to the soil degradation (desertification) problem so any plan needs to:
- Avoid increased demand for pumping ground water.
- Reduce the impact / damage caused by grazing without reducing animal count.
- Increase food production while reducing need for pumped ground water.
- Increasing ground water recharge rates.
- Increase food production during drought conditions.
- Increase food availability and income to rural poor.
- Restore degraded land to productive crop production.
A2WH “Grow Dryland” provides part of the necessary strategy along with supporting technology. The A2WH “Grow Dryland” was conceived to give local farmers and villages the ability to convert degraded land into food and income without increasing pumped groundwater demand. The A2WH “Grow Dryland” process was specifically designed to:
- Provide alternate sources of forage to reduce the demand grass especially during drought years
- Produce large amounts of nitrogen rich compost to help revitalize the land
- Replace commercial fertilizers with organic matter that also improves water retention
- Hold more water on the land to recharge the water table
- Amend the personal garden space to produce more food with less water
- Provide a crop of edible forage during drought years when grass production is dramatically reduced
- Provide long term harvest as bonus over the short term benefits which can be split with the funders
In the arid countries lack of water has already made agriculture such a high risk that many families have given up agriculture traditions spanning generations and moved to the cities where lack of jobs and lack of modern skills have combined to trap many of them in the lowest levels of poverty. We are unfortunately at the leading edge of this problem but are already Seeing significant migration occur in from farms in Mexico and India into the city where many are trapped in city slums. According to a United nations brochure 700 million people will be displaced and forced to migrate by 2030. It is obvious that this number of people migrating across international borders will create a crisis where some counties are forced to absorb millions of under educated and unemployed people. These countries will experience a burden on their social infrastructure. It seems that it will ultimately be cheaper to invest in resolving the issue in a beneficial fashion before countries such as Spain and France must deal with the migration.
Dealing with the mature problem will cost more than a proactive solution
NGO and government agencies should be looking at the cost of dealing with the mass migration rather than the cost or current value of land in the degraded areas. If this shift of perspective is made fast enough then A2WH can help mitigate the problem before it becomes acute. These solutions take time to undo centuries of accumulated damage so immediate action and real funding is needed now.
EU banking system has a 315 billion USD per year liability from migration
If you take the U.N. estimate of 700 million people and assume that 15% of them could make their way to parts of Europe closest to Africa then countries like Spain will have to absorb 105 million refugees. Since Spain is economically liked into the EU banking system it means the central European banks or governments are likely to absorb a majority of the financial burden from this refugee crisis. If you estimate that between the most basic of housing, food, medical supplies and overhead that these border countries will spend $3,000 per year per person then they have a 315 billion USD per year liability accruing.
Assuming they could absorb these people into productive jobs over a 5 year period this still leaves them with a 1,575 billion accumulated liability. Some of this would eventually be offset by increased taxes collected from those who obtain jobs but it also comes with a heavy load of low paid workers who are likely to cannibalize jobs from people already in country which could easily cause social unrest in those countries.
The actual % of people making it into Spain will vary and could be considerably higher. The amount they actually spend could be different so quantifying the exact cost is nearly impossible. It should be relatively obvious that even a small fraction of 700 million people if armed would represent a very dangerous army. Humans have demonstrated that they are willing to become quite vicious when trying to obtain food and shelter for themselves and their families so it could easily become a choice between facing a massive military incursion or absorbing the refugees. Net, Net the cost could be considerably higher under some scenarios.
EU central bankers should be investing 105 billion USD per year to mitigate this risk
If we use the $1,575 billion USD as a total liability and calculate that they need to front load the the investment to minimize this risk over a 15 year period so the money is fully deployed before the 2030 date then they need to spend 1,575 billion / 15 years or 105 billion USD per year. This represents the amount of money the EU governments should be investing to mitigate desertification and water scarcity related famine to minimize the risk of encountering this as a unplanned expense latter. This is a huge investment but with the full “Grow Dryland” program it can actually give them better than 20% return over a 15 year period so if the bankers make this investment in the right way the governments never need to come up with this money as a tax.
With a investment of $105 billion USD per year assuming a cost of $2,000 per person in the high risk regions this would give us the ability to deploy the A2WH system to 52 million people per year or 780 million people over the 15 year period. Our estimates is that each of these people will end up with roughly 200 adult trees over a 10 year period producing edible foliage and and producing approximately 40,000 pounds of nitrogen rich compost per person per year. This amount of bio-matter will allow them to feed 12 goats or sheep for a full year which gives them income. It also gives them the necessary materials to mix with their top soil to dramatically improve the water retention capability so they can grow more food with less water. Cumulatively this would result 15.6 billion ton of compost per year. The first years of this program will consume the compost as part of revitalizing their soil and increasing their productive yields. In the longer term this bio-mass can be transferred into bio-fuel production to offset declining petroleum production. This longer term market can further boost the returns for the bankers funding the long term program.
The A2WH Grow Dryland Plan
Primary Desertification culprits
The United nations indicates the main contributors are
- Over Grazing
- Over draw of ground water
- over population
A2WH technology can help address the damage from over grazing and eliminate the need to over draw the ground water while making is possible to grow productive food crops on land where ground water is no longer available. Over population is beyond the scope of our focus.
Diversify food supply in drought resistant fashion
If this plan can be fully demonstrated and deployed on a large scale then we see it as a way to give millions of families worldwide new tools which can largely reverse desertification while providing the food needed to keep the population healthy. At the same time as reduces migration based populations pressures in the cities and gives them a chance to catch up. The most important impact is that it will diversify the worldwide food supply in a way that is drought resistant in an era when more extreme droughts may be caused by global climatic changes.
Facilitate agriculture on degraded land where there is no groundwater available
The A2WH “Grow Dryland” technology facilitates agriculture in areas where there is no surface water or ground water available. We do this by focusing on starting high value trees using our Grow Dryland” device and our larger planting process which can allow tree species that would normally be unable to survive on the same land to thrive. The “Grow Dryland” technology and process can grow these forage trees on land where no water is available even when the seedlings would normally die of thirst before they could be established. When fully implemented the micro-capture portion of the system can hold more of the rain that falls on the land where it can soak in and reacharge ground water levels while reducing soil lost to erosion. We focus on supporting these trees on land where there is no water available or where water has become unreliable or the land has be degraded by salinization too much for continued use. We start with fodder or green bio-mass trees which can provide some income and possibly food in the short term with a valuable lumber crop in the long term. Our emphasis is to make this a self-funding activity so the local farmers, herders and ranchers will increase their profit while reducing the risk of drought wiping out their savings.
A2WH estimates that we could eventually tackle over 60% of the severely degraded land which depends on rain fed agriculture and where no irrigation water is available. We can also address the problem in warm areas where irrigation water has become unreliable or unavailable due to dropping water tables. We have not yet been able to quantify this as a percentage of all degraded lands but fully expect that our technology and process could be beneficial for over 3 billion acres worldwide.
Partners and Feedback appreciated
We are actively soliciting feedback and input on this process and how to best organize such an effort to maximize success. We would greatly appreciate referrals to those who can authorize test projects in USA, Africa and Asia. Our A2WH technology is environmentally benign and It can mitigate worldwide water shortages and mitigate the impact of droughts.
Desert Grow Device
A2WH Our technology uses solar thermal heat to harvest water from air. It will work in very dry desert air and even better in areas of higher humidity. Each Desert grow device will extract enough water from the air to keep a seedling alive as it’s roots grow towards the moist deeper soil When combined with the complete planting process it can support tree species on the land which would otherwise not have survived. This allows local farmers to choose trees which can deliver the maximum value to their families.
Family scale agriculture
Our primary interest is enabling family scale agriculture in areas with extreme water scarcity. Ethiopia’s remote, drought-stricken Somali region would be an ideal kind of deployment. The Ethiopian people are impacted by drought induced famine every few years and our process was designed to work in this very harsh location. Once critical aspect we do not control is that the people using our process need to be able to protect the growing plants which means they may need to be able to limit access.
Reduce impact of drought induced famine
A2WH unit can reduce the impact of drought induced famine by providing a number of local farmers with a sufficient number of A2WH units that they can keep a few acres each under production even during the worst drought. These would be combined with a set of desert hardy edible plants similar to those used by the “Eden project in Nigeria” so that we can stretch the available water to produce more edible food. This is combined with our drought hardy trees to deliver animal food during drought while also providing nitrogen rich bio-matter for compost revitalize their family garden.
Start with the trees
We start with hardy trees which either directly produce human edible food or which produce foliage which can be consumed by Rabbits, Sheep, Goats and Cattle. These trees are used to establish growth on barren land or on the edge of fields along fence lines and ridgelines where they can help reduce wind velocity. These leaves from these trees can be used to feed the animals especially during drought conditions when grass growth is lower. The excess nitrogen rich foliage is used as a soil amendment for their local gardens which will yield much of the same benefits as commercial fertilizers but it also dramatically improves the soils ability to hold moisture which means the same plants can thrive in the garden with less water or they can grow more plants.
Follow up with edible natives
Once they have added a sufficient amount of organic matter to their family garden that it is able to hold at least 24% of water as soil moisture they can then start using the nitrogen rich leaves to treat land surrounding their gardens to a similar level and then planting drought tolerant edible natives as demonstrated by the Eden projects. After they have converted a majority of their personal yards to food production they start using the nitrogen rich leaves as ground cover over their best grass grazing areas where it can more than double the grass yields due to the fertilizing effect but even more important it can dramatically reduce water loss from surface evaporation during dry years which will enhance critical growth during the dangerous drought years.
If we can find a way to make it work financially then it would give the famine victims a food security that has been lacking for decades and it would eliminate the need for Unicef and the red cross to return every few years to help the same set of people.
We want to find those places where the ground water is either not available at all or is extremely contaminated. Our technology uses solar thermal heat to extract water from air. It works best in humid areas with lots of sun and will also work in very dry desert air. Our primary interest is enabling family scale agriculture in areas with extreme water scarcity. The following questions need to be answerd.
- What the land value be after the same acre was reclaimed and able to produce a premium crop while being immune to droughts.
- What is the highest value legal crop that could reasonably be grown on this average desert land.
- How many harvests per year would be likely from best crop and what would it’s annual value be?
- Are there a significant number of people in local region who would like to try agriculture but could not afford land with water rights?
- How many acres of currently unused land could reasonably be re-vitalized using this approach. What would be the country or state level economic impact in GDP if these acres where revitalized. o What would be the next change in property tax values if these acres where revitalized. o Which senior policy makers would be most interested in revitalizing this amount of land.
- What would be the best way to introduce such a capability in region?
- Would people region would be interested in the capability?
- Which regional money sources would be most interested in using this as a way to create regional profit centers through improving land values for resale? Why would each one be interested.
- How many small villages of 100 to 800 people are critically affected with degraded land to the point where they are leaving the area to try and find work in the city. If so what is causing this shortage? How do we keep them on the land long enough to enact our program? How do we fund the A2WH units for these people? Are there any current government grants of land or money for individuals who can re-vitalize unused land with new agriculture?
- Are there any grants available for individuals implementing agriculture? projects that actually reduce the strain on current water infrastructure? “
- What is the cost in current market for an average acre of dry desert land which is too dry to support agriculture and which has no water irrigation or ground water available? By region? By Country? By State? How would this value change if a proven crop where being produced on the same Acre?
Our solution can be installed acre by acre so it allows an incremental growth strategy that is impossible for the coastal desalination plants while it also eliminates the need for long pipelines and pumps. Our technology only applies in areas where there ground water is either unavailable or over allocated and where it would be infeasible to build pipelines to carry water from the coastal desalination plants.
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This discussion contains forward looking statements which are based on current expectations and differences can be expected. All statements and expressions are the opinion of management of A2WH and are not meant to be either investment advice or a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold securities. Many of these statements are based on sound economic reasoning, however actual response of the economy is heavily influenced by politics and large business and so the outcome could end up substantially different.