A Tree Grows in the Desert

December 2, 2010


[YouTube]vxO1Kg_c8JY[/YouTube]A few weeks ago, Popular Science (PopSci) announced its “Best of What's New 2010” list of the top 100 innovations of the year. Named No. 1 was the Groasis waterboxx, a “dead-simple game-changer.”

Indeed, the waterboxx, developed by AquaPro Holland, allows trees to grow anywhere. According to PopSci, “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.” But the waterboxx prevents that.

And, according to GreenLivingTips.com, it prevents “against evaporation, frosts, pests and the elements and also helps to maintain a steady temperature at the tree's roots.”

The waterboxx is designed to sit around a newly planted sapling. It has to be filled with four gallons of water just once.

“The waterboxx does the rest,” PopSci said. “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.”

According to Groasis.com, the waterboxx was tested for three years in Sahara desert. Eighty-eight percent of the trees planted with the waterboxx showed an average growth of more than 90 percent in length in the first year, while 89 percent of the trees planted without the waterboxx died.

As PopSci said, this device has the “potential to better the lives of millions affected by deforestation and overfarming.”

There were a lot of great innovations in 2010. Do you think the Groasis waterboxx deserves the top spot?