Drought & Famine Mitigation in Arid Regions
AirSolarWater.com Jan 2006 – All Rights Reserved
Around the world there is a lot of desert land that could be viable for agriculture but where there is inadequate water available to support the plant growth. We explore in this paper if it would be cost effective to reclaim some of this land using the Air Solar Water (Air to Water Harvest) technology.
The A2WH technology may help allow agriculture in areas where there is no surface water or ground water available. We are in the process of quantifying how much of the available land could be farmed if we could solve the water problem and if the economic results would justify the investment.
Our A2WH technology is environmentally benign and It can pretty much eliminate all world wide water shortages and mitigate the impact of droughts. 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. Our primary interest is enabling family scale agriculture in areas with extreme water scarcity
We are actively seeking input on the best initial focus points and best funding strategies for making A2WH available to the poor in Asia and Africa. We would greatly appreciate referrals to those who can authorize test projects in USA, Africa and Asia.
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. A2WH can reduce the impact of their famine by providing them with enough water each day to keep a small garden alive. The garden would not produce a huge amount but it should produce a sufficient amount of fast growing greens to give them a small harvest every day. We would size a unit for a family of 4 that could produce 12 gallons per person per day which would give them enough to drink and water the small garden by hand. If they are careful they should have about 8 gallons per person per day available for use in the garden. It would require about 8 square foot of surface space per gallon per day so for the 48 gallons per day we would require about 400 square foot of space for our solar collectors. On the more humid coast it would require about 40% less space. The water so clean it almost reaches lab quality so it will also eliminate water related illness common in the Ethiopian children. This solution would also require training in water wise gardening and fast growing highly nutritious plants but these people are already experts in desert survival. 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. I always look for ways to eliminate core problems so they don’t come back rather than using short term band aid solutions and our Water from air extraction units would be good permanent fix.
We have added one more option for drought induced famine survival. We started from the angle of how do you furnish enough water than a family group can grow enough to sustain them selfs on a day to day basis at least in tropical and sub tropical areas.
Around the world countries are recognizing the dangers over drawing ground water. In fact in many areas they are pumping water back in to replace the water they previously replaced. This means that it is important during drought to limit water use of the aqua quiver which in turns limits using water for agriculture. The recharge rate of the aqua quiver in extremely dry areas is normally low so they can rapidly deplete the local aqua quiver to the point where the wells are worthless. There are a number of cases where this has occurred in rural India and the Darfar is at risk of corruption due excess draw even now. The question becomes how do you support agriculture in an during a drought when there is no surface water and no ground water available. The solution we developed was our A2WH (Air to Water Harvest) technology.
Our current costs make our produced water more expensive than most of the easy solutions such as drilling more wells, long pipelines, recycling, etc so we are looking for those problems where there is simply no viable water available.
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.
- How much would an average acre of dry desert land which is too dry to support agriculture and which has no water irrigation or ground water available cost in current market?
- If sufficient water is added to that land to allow high value crops to be drip or hand irrigated (400,000 gallons per year per acre) could this land support a viable crop? If so then what would highest value crops be?
- 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.
- What would be the next change in property tax values if these acres where revitalized.
- 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 short of safe drinking water? If so what is causing this shortage? How much water do they need?
- 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.
- Do you have any industries in dry areas that are limited in growth by insufficient access to clean water? If so :
- Which companies and industries are they
- What is the economic impact of this growth limitation in both GDP and jobs.
- How much water does each need per year.?
- How much would it increase the company value if they had that water?
- For each area identified above. If irrigation water is available at all what is the cost per acre foot for that water and what is the major obstacle to supplying more water at that price.
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.
Incidentally if countries in the middle East like Saudi Arabia have cheap natural gas available we can produce units that multiply water production per hour by 600%. We do this by using the natural gas to supplement the solar thermal heat.
I really enjoyed your article “Combating Desertification with Plants“. We tackled the problem from the opposite direction of providing limited water to sustain family sized gardens in desertification areas. I think if we combined your approach with our approach of edible drought tolerant plants it could yield even better results. In particular your approach would allow us to stretch 30 gallons a day worth of agriculture further.
We have invented a technology the allows us to use solar thermal heat to extract water from air. It is intended to allow small scale agriculture in areas where there is no water available either from ground water or surface water. The Sudan area in Ethiopia is a good example of such an area.
The system was originally invented to provide survival drinking water for troops but we are hoping that we can find a way to allow it to benefit people in extremely arid areas.
Let me know if you think this would be of benefit in your area. We have little experience in international field deployment and would need people like those who operated the Edenoutpost in Niger to take care of that and local training.
The units start small enough to carry while only producing a few gallons a day and scale up to major infrastructure capable of a billion gallons per year. We are most interested in a family sized unit that would produce about 50 gallons a day in the hopes that it would allow families in the worst drought induced famines to grow enough greens and other fast growing plants to survive.
If you have advice on specific edible desert hardy plants especially those tolerant of high salinity and sand then I would love to include a link or the entire list in our operators guide. Good pictures will help as would any recipes.
Contact us for more information
Call 206-601-2985. or Send contact us an email.
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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.