AquaPro Holland Groasis Waterboxx
The Groasis Waterboxx is our 2010 Best of What's New Innovation of the Year.
Deforestation and overfarming have helped decrease the productivity of about 70 percent of the world's arid and semi-arid lands, which could force the migration of 50 million people by 2017. Our innovation of the year, the Groasis Waterboxx, an irrigation-free plant incubator, could help make these lands fertile again. And it's nothing more than an exceptionally well-designed bucket.
Drylands actually have enough water to sustain trees for decades, but it's several feet beneath the surface. Because rain and irrigation evaporate quickly, many young plants die before their roots can tap that reservoir. The Waterboxx, shaped more like a doughnut than a box, helps plants survive long enough to make it through that layer of dry soil. Place the tub around a freshly planted seedling, and fill the evaporation-proof basin—just once—with four gallons of water.
The Waterboxx does the rest. At night, its top cools faster than the air, collecting condensation to supplement those initial gallons. The tub drips about three tablespoons of water a day into the soil, sustaining the plant while encouraging its roots to grow deeper in search of more water. Once the plant reaches the moist soil layer, usually after a year, the farmer lifts the box off the plant and reuses it on the next sapling. Each Waterboxx is expected to last 10 years, and, for about a buck or two per tree grown, is cheap enough to use in poor nations.
In tests in the Sahara, 88 percent of Waterboxx-sheltered trees survived, versus 10 percent of trees with traditional cultivation. But the mighty tub's inventor, Pieter Hoff, still isn't satisfied. He's working on a biodegradable version that decomposes to feed the plant too.
$275/10 boxes; groasis.com
This is the invention of the century, how brilliant!
Everyone who reads this should chip in and spread the word so Peter Hoff's great product will receive the publicity it deserves. I certainly will.
Keep up the good work, Peter - people like you show the way into a sustainable future!
"Learn to Live & Live to Learn"
Alexander von Humboldt
reminds me of the technique the fremmen were using in 'Dune'.
This is good, but I feel the need to point out something.
The article says "for about a buck or two per tree grown, is cheap enough to use in poor nations."
However, at the very end of the article it lists the price as "$275/10 boxes; groasis.com"
That is about $27.50/box, right? So, where is the other 26.50 or 25.50/box going?
Ah, but once that 27.50 box is used for ten, eleven, or twelve years, the cost does come down to about 2 dollars a tree. Overall, this idea is sheer genius!
@ chr.... Touche
Also, by forcing the "Tap" root deeper it strengthens the tree for it's entire lifetime making it less prone to wind damage and more likely to tap deeper for drought protection.
Somebody rich please build the hell out of these things quick! It's not too late to reverse desertification.
This is an amazing invention. I am buying ten waterboxxes and donating them to people in desert areas. I would buy more than ten but i dont exactly have alot of money. Everyone should spread the word about this. Also, chr, i thought the same thing but i think they are basing the cost off of per tree. Because each box is expected to last at least ten years that is one tree per year, therefore a few dollars per tree. Only one complaint, I realize that they are relatively cheap already but 20-30 dollars extra initial investment per tree can be a lot of money for people in poor countries or people out of work.
ooops sorry chr I read the post above yours and thought it was your name. Now i see you already answered that.
GENIUS ,similar to drip irrigation,
"The tub drips about three tablespoons of water a day into the soil, sustaining the plant while encouraging its roots to grow deeper in search of more water."
but why would the plant roots grow deeper ,when it gets the water easily at the top??
The true test of this would be in deserts not vineyards....
why, mr. Anderson, why, why do you persist?
Because I Choose To...
Congratulations Groasis and mr. Hoff! We are proud to have you in our OP-Zuid programme.
Best wishes, on behalf of Stimulus,
Three tablespoons is enough to sustain life and very moderate growth. Life, however, wants to flourish, not subsist.
Too much water and the tree will create a layer of surface roots to maximize water consumption. These shallow roots, however, will bake and dry out whenever artifical watering stops.
Too little water and the tree dies.
Just enough keeps the tree alive, but searching for more water - by sending the roots in the one direction that water can always be found - down.
Once these roots reach the aquifer, even if it is a seaonal aquifer, there is normally enough water to sustain the dry season.
I'm only surprised that such results can be reached in a single year.
I read this article and all I see is a bonsai plant in a plastic bucket. What happened to the Sham-wow? You know the Germans always make good stuff!
Sam Kinison on World Hunger
Does it rest on the ground or is it buried to the lip? Gallery suggests the former, but the biodegradable version under development suggests the latter.
while not an engineer or plant "expert" my experience with trees in sandy soil is the roots hang at the surface and while a tap root is probing around the tree expends a lot of energy making those shallow roots find the water source. The tree is vulnerable to wind and other movement damage such as animals, who are also searching for the water. I hope it works as advertised.
Hooooooly crap, this is awesome. 88% survival rate with uberdonut vs. 10% survival rate without it? Like 1 or 2 bucks cost per tree over time? Massive win. And that's not even considering the fact that trees produce more trees, obviously. Just look at all the forests in Israel that used to be barren hillsides until people planted trees all over them. The same could be done in sub-Saharan Africa, or maybe Australia, only now way more easily if this works as described.
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I wonder if there is an means to tell when the plants roots actualy reach the soil-water layer or are they just guestimating after this year of growth, that the roots should have reached it??
It is amazing to see the possibilities we have to provide all basic necessities for humanity. It's funny that money is pretended to be the constrant, its just that providing trees would hardly be benefical for any financer. Thats why this doesn't happen, why the word hardly gets out as commented previously. We need to realize we have to use everything to be the most efficient and benefical. Check out this video if you find any of what I just said as interesting or true. Look into the Venus Project, and lectures by Peter Joseph, and realize that this is hardly illogical to pursue and learn from.
This is a good example of how a simple idea can bring big positive results.
Reminds me of a cheap organic waste digester, I read about. Third world people can use their garbage and other waste to create methane to cook with.