map of desert areas

Bringing Water to the Deserts

Bringing WATER + ELECTRICITY + FOOD & LIFE to the Deserts - the start of a humankind revolution! Just how can you bring water to the deserts when there is little rain, where rivers are only found hundred of miles away, where there is no underground water of sufficient amount to speak of, where underground water is completely extracted by human activities and where the sea is far far off?

Approximately 1/3 of Earth's land surface is a desert (includes polar and non-polar). Deserts normally receive less than 300 mm of rain a year or some with no rain at all. Life without water is unbearable yet there are scatters of livelihood in some of the most un-liveable parts of the world. Bravos to them! Water is the essence of life and water scarcity is often felt in urban centres due to various factors including man made ones. Water issues in the desert area are normally brought about due to adverse weather conditions but there are also made ones like over gracing and poorly managed husbandries. With changing weather conditions and global warming setting in, there is an ever increasing pressure to try to revert back desertification so that the humans can once again settle in deserts. Actions must be taken now as it normally take years before we can see any results. China has shown as a good example of governments taking action to reverse desertification by introducing replan ting and re-watering the land with waste water. But by and large, there is very little effort in trying to regain back the deserts as funds are not available. Then there are wars among chieftains that normally brought about the creation of wasteland that no human beings can survive. Rotting land mass become the nucleus of growing desert land. Since we are facing an increasing growth of desert like landscape, what can be done to reverse the loss of arable land to the deserts?

Solutions to Reverse Desertification

water tree awg

Water Tree by Iskandar Project

Since the main issue is water or the lack of it, how are we going solve the problem? Of course we can draw water from the river if there is one nearby. Or draw water from underground if there is still water lying under the ground. Or revert to desalination if the sea lies nearby. What can we do if we have none of these? A solution proposed by Iskandar Project is to install Water Trees. Yes, water trees that can help harvest water from the air! There are boundless amount of water in the air but in order to tap it we will need to expand energy. Drawing water from the air will need to have a sufficient amount of humidity, say at least 20 %. Drawing water from the air in a desert will have to be done in the morning hours, provided there is available power.

Water Trees are designed to harvest water from the air even with a low humidity of 20%. It will do so at the morning hours where the humidity is highest in the desert areas. Water Trees are stand-alone solid state devices that require little maintenance, making them suitable to be located in remote areas. If you are talking about reversing the growth of desert land, then Water Tree is the answer. It will act as a nucleus for the expansion of grassland because it brings about water and water is the essence of life be it human life or plant life. Once you have water and also electricity (which the water tree also produces), then things become possible. Water tree is designed to withstand wind storms and heavy rain. It is also designed to be hosted above the ground to prevent from being destroyed by floods.

Erosions in mountainous regions are a cause of concern. When people cut down trees, over gracing of grasslands and drawing excessive amount of water from the ground, the first thing that occurs is soil erosion. Once it starts, there will be no end to it, which will also cause hardships to poor people who had depended greatly on these resources. But what can be done? Of course people migrate in search for better places to live but then do you want to have a life that depends on you forever migrating? In order to tackle problems arising from soil erosion, it would make sense to install Water Trees so that there can be water, electricity and food on tap. Water Trees can be the nucleus for where you build a viable settlement. When you have water you can begin to plant crops and grass patch. With electricity you will be able to live a comfortable life and may even start a cottage industry. Animal husbandry is another possibility and the list goes on. It just go to show what sort of revolution that the Water Tree can bring about. Reverse desertification – yes, a viable possibility for mankind.

Erosions also cause another problem, that of our land lossing away our top soil. Dersert soil as we know of has very little nutrients as most of them were washed away during heavy rainfall. Now, what then can we do to it if we want to green back the desert. We will need to address the problem of little nutrients. One way is to re-engineer how we do our planting. Planting it in a water medium for a start might be a solution as then we can better control the amount of nutrients that will boost our planting. In such a case, a module platform specially designed to help nourish our plantings will be the best answer. But ultimately we will need to plant it in the ground so we will also need to prepare the ground as it is only the ground that will give a permanent host for the plants, especially when you need to take into consideration of the wind storms that are so often present in desert lands.

Water Tree is designed for the deserts. With water available, you can plant anything. In order not to waste water, you may use a designed compartment for the root to help minimum use of water. These special compartments (also designed by Iskandar Project) can allow for drip irrigation and the metering of nutrients (for poor desert soil) to the plant. Additionally, the special compartment allows a transparent covering to be placed on top to protect the young seedling from being devoured by the elements and insects. These coverings can be removed when the plantings have reached a certain height. Drip feeding will continue and can also be enlarged to cover a larger acreage when the activity has expanded.

It should be noted that the water harvested from a single unit of Water Tree is not of a large volume so it would probably be sufficient only to water a small area for a beginning. There is also not much water to be harvested during the day, so the harvesting of water is done during the morning hours when the temperature is at the coolest and humidity is at the maximum. However, the amount of harvested water can increase if there is sufficient power supply. Electricity supply could increase when more solar panels or wind turbines are connected. Further to that if there is an excess of electricity generated, then an underground storage system like a pumped hydro system can be added to sustain the generation of water for 24 hours.

poor desert soil

Deserts cover about one fifth of the Earth's surface and occur where rainfall is less than 50 cm/year. If we were to try and re-green the desert, then besides water, we will also need to regenerate the soil to a level where it can sustain meaningful growth of the greens. Desert soil is mostly consists of sand and they do often lack plant nutrients. So if we want to reverse desertification which is an urgent process because of the rise in population and climate change, we would need to treat the soil or better putting the soil in a plant able container that can restrain the water from evaporating. The plant able container is available from the market but it has not been brought up to date to incorporate sensors which are required if we were to do remote monitoring. We have designed such a container (called intelligent grid pod) which will allow little maintenance.

Can we re-populate the deserts? How to survive living in the desert.

We have to re-populate the desert because we are running out of land. Desert lands have already chip away two thirds of liveable land. If we do not do anything about it, that is re-populating such wasteland, we will have to face a greater consequence later on. And we do not have time as it will take decades before we can bring back these wastelands to their original health. The first thing on our mind is to think of where is the water coming from for if there is no water or little water then we might as well forget it as it would not be sustainable to grow anything without water. So it seems that Water Tree is the answer or anything else that resembles it. With it you will get secured water. With it you will get secured power as long as the sun shines and the wind blows. First thing to do is to obtain funds so that you can install as many Water Trees as your funds allow. After that you might want to install a Vertical Farm so that you can grow food at the site. This will become the nucleus for you to re-populate the barren land as water, power and food becomes available.

There has been plans to build long tunnels connecting water sources to arid regions. The Chinese government started building a tunnel in the centre of Yunnan province that will be more than 600km long connecting Yunnan to the Guizhou Plateau bringing water to 11 million inhabitants. Cost is estimated to be at least 11 billion dollars. But why spend billions of dollar to help water 11 million inhabitants? Would it not be better to spend money to help install Water Trees to these inhabitants so that they can become independent and secured in water and electricity. Adding to that is the possibility of creating a food producing region where water and power is available on tap. One idea that is worth exploring and that is not only for Yunnan but also for the rest of the world where water stress is a daily encounter.

It is often the practise of the desert people in the Middle East to offer thanks when it rains. Water makes everything possible and when there is not enough water to go by people just stop their activities and move to another area. But migrating is certainly not the solution as there are just that many places with water to go by. As climate change kicks in, together with the drying up of underground aquifers, people of the deserts will have no other choice other than to move to the cities. We are facing a great threat in an environment where people have to jostle and fight jsut to survive another day. To make things worse, sea levels are rising to rob us of living in land below the level of the sea. Perhaps we would do better if we were to help reverse desertification with unconventional means that engineers have not thought of. Water Tree just may be the answer!

satellite scanning for under ground water

Satellite Scanning for water under the ground

One of the usual method of searching for water is to look for it under the ground. As rain pours, much of it find its way into the ground where they form aquifers. It is an automatic response when you can't find water from above you can find it deep under your feet. Many aquifers in the deserts of North Africa and around the dry regions of the world, among others, are being rapidly extracted for community use. A US-Qatar Partnership aims to find Buried Water in Earth's Deserts using satellites to probe the sand dunes and ice sheets of some of Earth's driest places with radar technology similar to that used by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). So now they have mapped out the places where underground water is available. So more digging but digging at the right places. As climate change sets in, there will be less rain to go around or rain that falls in the wrong place like out in the oceans. And what would you have then? More water depletion and more land sinking which often result in flooding. Floods often help destroy infrastructures and it is something that we are scared of. An alternative to underground water harvesting would be to install Water Trees to tap the water that is present in our atmosphere. That for sure would be the answer to our insatiable hunger for water.

rooftop hydroponics of desert settlements

desert settlement platform

the DESERTANGLE - a stand alone desert habitat platform that has its own supply of power, water and food

Desertangle - how to survive living in the desert

How can you live in the barren desert with no water, no power and no food? On top of that you will have to fence yourself from being enveloped in sand when the storm blows. You certainly can with the Desertangle, a design for the twenty first century inhabitant who chose to stay and make a living in the barren desert land. Desertangle is designed to withstand strong desert winds. Inhabitants will be able to make a real living as it is able to generate water, power and grow food. Structured with heavy duty fondation piles which is able to anckle itself strongly to the ground, Desertangle by Iskandar Project is one of a kind of advance futuristic thinking to cope with climate change. It is also capable of being adapted for coastal regions facing the onslaught of sea level rise. Designed as a stand alone modular unit, making your home in Desertangle will not have you worried about not getting your water, power and food for being sited in a far remote area where human beings would normally not chose to live. And you would not have to worry about not getting to eat meat as there is a fish pond and a floor level (you stay a level above it) where you can rear your goat, cow or chicken (the level has automatic climate control thrown in to preserve live stocks). It even comes with a wind deflector to ward off ground level sand-laden wind. Built as an enclave, Desertangle can attract tourist around the world who might want to experience desert environment but to be honest, Desertangle was designed to better use of the desert land and also as a means to reverse desertifications. It is also endowed with waste treatment system and a waste water recycling module to convert urine to water and urea. Water after all is the lifeblood of all existence.

a blade of grass in the desert

in the desert, just sustaining a blade of grass will need a great idea

How do you make the desert green again? And surely you are not going to put up some straw checkerboards do you?

There are various ways to make the desert green again but in order to do that you will need to have water. Water is needed for grass (shrubs) to grow as there is very little water in the sand. As we watch how farmers use the checker board to control the spread of desert land, we have to wonder how we are going to grow plants in the desert land. It must be noted that even though the Chinese farmers have succeeded in controlling the spread of desert, they still cannot grow grass in between those checker boards. You still need water and perhaps nutrients as well as most of desert sand are devoid of humus. The way to start desert greening is to plant a small patch of land and then surround it with protection from wind storms. So achieving control of the spread of desert has been mastered, you will need new tricks to help bring water to the plants as very little rain is expected over the desert. One way of to bring in water is by the installing of Desertangle. Let the platform be the nucleus of activities. Let it draw in water and power. Once these two elements are available, then you can begin to green the desert. With the Desertangle, you can also house workers who will live there and use it as a base for the reversing of desertification. When water, power and food is available the job of colonising the desert land is achievable. Think of the time when people started the California Gold Rush. Dont knock your head just doing the checker board thing!

The Desertangle as envisioned by Iskandar Project can be made the nucleus of production house for agricultural products (includes fish, goats and fowls). It can also be the nucleus of an energy producing enclave helping to generate energy and hydrogen. With the availability of water and power, the futuristic Desertangle model will be able to sustain all forms of human activities that have never before being considered for a desert environment. Since Desertangle can be safely anchored into the ground (made of sand) with its extendable anchoring piles (at least 4 to a single module) there is an opportunity to further develop its underground space. One element in mind is the installing of water tanks which can act as a stabilising anchor point in the face of fearce sand storms. Food industries may flourish as there is water which can be used for the greening of the surrounding areas to further reverse desertification. As for accessibility, you might want to add a drone landing pad which can be located on the rooftop so as not to be covered with sand from a storm.

In a changing world where we are worried sick about what is going to change, Desertangle brings with it a ray of hope as it is one of the finest example of how mankind will be able to overcome its adversities, including the fight to regain back presious land lost to desertification. Still, the most important aspect of our fight to reverse back the loss of livable abodes is the ability to bring water to the deserts. And only with water can we think of other activities to pursue as most living activities is water based. We are reminded that as of now, we have lost 12 million hectares of land every year to desertification and drought alone. Thirty eight percent of the land mass is considered desert or semi dry land that cannnot sustain any form of activities upto now. The lost will increase many folds with the onset of global warming and the rise of sea levels. But fortunately, there is Desertangle and the likes of it. Mankind will not be doomed if we can prevent a nuclear war, notwithstanding that the world will become warmer. We should put in practise of making a living in a Desertangle before we think of surviving in Mars!

One of the most troublesome effects of desertification is the reduction of population in the rural areas. If you can’t find water, then you have to move to a place where water is available. But because of climate change, less and less of rain find their way to the people who most need it. The result of which is the migration of people to the urban areas where it is easier to find water. When that happens, more and more of urban centres become congested. You will need to find more and more water for these urban centres but in most cases you will find that they too become water stressed. In 2017, 4.1 billion people found their way to live in urban centres. That is half of the world’s population! It is estimated that by 2050, 68% of the world’s population will find their way to live in urban areas. How will we be able to cope with this situation? Perhaps we will need to double our efforts to revive desert settlements or we will have to face disaster of the kind that will lead to war.

In an attempt to rehabitat the desert landscape, a new idea is proposed. It is called 'rooftop hydroponics' which in a better sense is a hydroponics cubicle carved out from the roof top of human settlements. This is in contrast to the idea of planting on the desert soil as you will not have to touch the poor desert soil to grow food crops. Instead of planting shrubs in the desert soil, you now build strong settlements (to withstand sand storm) into the ground and then build hydroponic pads on top of the roofing. Water Trees are then placed on top of the roofs to help supplement water and electricity to the plantings and inhabitants. In this way, you would not be afraid of the strong desert wind as you would feel protected. With water and electicity on tap, inhabitants will feel safe and comfortable (with enlarged solar panels to enable air conditioning) as there will also be food available. The hydroponics and aquaponics (if rrequired) will give mankind an edge to combat loneliness as there are activities to busy themselves. Hydroponics pad can also be run semi-automatically if the weather become adverse. IoT's, sensors and advance actuators completes the system. This futuristic idea can also be applied to settlements in the polar regions.

In an effort to reclaim back unusable land from the desert, we will look at another part of the earth that has been unusable - the sea front. As climate change bite into our lives, and as the sea level rises, we will find more and more of our sea fronts being inundated with sea water rendering it useless. But things are not that as hopeless as it seems because we can utilise Desertangle platform to rehabilitate back those land that has been taken over by sea water. As Desertangle is a stand alone unit that is capable of providing water, power and food, we could at least rely on it to help take back those land that we lost to the sea. Desertangle can be used as a nucleus platform to enable resettlement of the coastal area lost to the sea.

DesertAngle is available for licensing