Sunday 12 June 2011

water - or lack of it...

A drought has been declared in parts of England. Well they didn;t really need to tell us, just one look at the soil would tell you that there hasn't been enough rain recently. (Ironically I am writing this when some is forecast!)
I found it quite amusing the other day when the radio presenter on local radio said that Yorkshire was escaping the drought - well maybe the bit where she was had been getting rain, but as you go east it's certainly not! Rain appears to stop at the A1! Although the "occasional light showers" that they forecast the last week seem determined to drench my wife!

Anyway, back to the plot - I am reading, or rather re-reading for the third or fourth time "Dune" by Frank Herbert. Now I know science fiction isn't everyone's cup of tea (or other beverage if, like me, you can't stand the stuff! This from a Yorkshireman - heresy!)
However, for those unfamiliar with the book, most of the action is set on Arrakis, a desert planet where giant sandworm and a desert people called the Fremen live.
The Fremen wear stillsuits - a body covering designed to reclaim water that the body loses from sweat etc, and purifies this into a potable liquid. Water is also used as a form of currency, as a dowry, and the winner of a combat challenge has the right to the water from a vanquished opponent. The Fremen have also learnt how to reclaim water from the atmosphere, from dew, the wind etc via various technological means.

An interesting one for me was their way of irrigating crops or plants, by using a dew collector - black plastic used to funnel moisture from dew overnight to irrigate plants during the desert day. This is a variation on a survival trick in the deserts here, make a hole in the ground or sand with some form of container in it, place a large piece of black polythene over the top - the polythene has a small hole in the middle which is positioned over the container. A funnel is made by pressing the bit of polythene with the hole down in the middle, perhaps weighting it down with a stone - the idea is to ensure that moisture collected during the night from dew is funneled down into the cup.

Water conservation is important, and I shall share a few other ideas in a later blog, however in the allotment using various containers to collect the rain, we have a sunken bath as well as various large plastic barrels. We also use a section of guttering to funnel water down into the water butt.

Anyway, the Dune series is well worth a read!

Dune Novels official site

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