Sourcing water is becoming an increasing problem and many new and novel solutions have been researched and suggested in recent times. Early humans sang and danced to encourage rain clouds to gather and disgorges their precious contents, atrocious human sacrifices spilled blood in an effort to persuade the gods to spill rain on the crops. We hope that with the gathering years our efforts have become a bit more scientific and hopefully more fruitful.
We are becoming ever more resourceful in preserving rain water, some devices as simple as redirected guttering to household water butts for garden or soil water waste removal, to more sophisticated ideas such as the recent innovative building design by two polish architecture students, Ryszard Rychlicki and Agnieszka Nowak. The pair have based their design on the rain capturing features of some large leafed plants whose growing habits of upward tilting saucer like leaves channel captured rain inward to run down to the base of the plant to nourish the roots. Ryszard Rychlicki and Agnieszka Nowak’s skyscraper incorporates exterior flanges to capture maximum rainfall which would be channelled to uses such as cleaning, gardening and toilet flushing. Water could be treated ‘in house’ with a large hydro-botanic water treatment unit under the buildings roof; also further water reserves would be stored in the buildings basement area.
Early last year Imke Hoehler, a German design student, created DropNet a tent-like structure that collects water from fog; useful for producing immediate drinking water from high altitude arid landscapes.
How much easier still if we could just persuade the clouds to form where and when we want them.
Cloud seeding which been has been known about and tested for some time, is achieved by dispersing substances such as silver iodide into the air either through ground generators, dropped from planes or shot from rockets, to encourage the formation of cloud seeds or cloud condensation nuclei. Unfortunately the chemicals required for cloud seeding are hazardous and a toxic pollutant, so not helpful in the long run.
The University of Geneva is currently running tests which are creating the formation of rain drops in the atmosphere by firing pulses of laser light. Over a duration of 113 hours of laser firings nitric acid particles formed in the air. These particles served as condensation nuclei for rain droplets, which progressively grew to a few micrometers in size. As yet the droplets have not grown big enough for gravity to pull them down from the sky in the form of rain, but the finding have been significant enough to encourage further research which it is hoped in time will produce a more fruitful outcome!