Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Figure Eight Central Opening of the Groasis Waterboxx

The Waterboxx took a great deal of time and money to design (seven years and over seven million dollars) and all aspects of it were carefully considered.  An interesting aspect of the the Waterboxx is the figure eight central opening.  This is shaped this way for several reasons, detailed below.

The Waterboxx is designed to work well enough to grow trees in the desert.  In a Sahara planting trial, 88% of single saplings planted with the Groasis Waterboxx survived.  This compared to only 10.5 percent of non-Waterboxx trees that were watered once weekly surviving.  While the 88% survival of the Waterboxx trees is great considering the very inhospitable conditions in the Sahara (no trees naturally grow there), the Waterboxx is a significant investment, especially when purchased in large quantities.  If the survival rate of trees using the Groasis Waterboxx was closer to 95%, the investment would have a much better return.   Mr. Pieter Hoff, the inventor, decided that the Waterboxx should have enough room to plant two small saplings in its center.  This allows natural selection to be used, allowing trees to compete for light and resources.  After one year, the stronger (meaning taller and healthier looking) of these two trees can be spared while the weaker is cut at the base.  In this way, the chance of one tree (out of two initially planted) surviving in the driest harshest conditions in the Sahara is now 99%.  The relevant math formula is (0.88+0.88)-(0.88*0.88) = 99%.

Secondly, the length of the central opening of the Waterboxx is meant to be oriented East-West.  This allows sunlight, originating in the East and traveling overhead toward the West, to reach the trees through most of the day.  The Waterboxx even has a compass rose imprinted on its lid to help with orienting it correctly.

The blue cap and lid overflow are to be placed on the north of the Waterboxx to maximize sun exposure (image courtesy of Groasis)

So the central opening of the Waterboxx allows two trees (or even one tree and one other annual plant as seen below) to be planted, with the stronger one surviving the first year.  It allows sunlight to reach the growing plants during most of the day, while the rest of the Groasis Waterboxx prevents the soil from drying out and weeds from competing directly with the Waterboxx plant.  Finally, the Waterboxx's narrow opening prevents wind from drying out the young plant during its first year critical period.

Once the Waterboxx planted tree has a growth spurt, after about one year, and its canopy becomes so large it may soon have trouble fitting through the central opening, the Waterboxx is removed and reused up to 9 more times.  The tree then has a mat or mulch placed around its base, and is drought resistant due to its deep, Waterboxx induced roots.

The Waterboxx is available for purchase from Dew Harvest in the United States. We would love to hear your comments below - to leave one, please click on "Comments".

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