Thursday, February 14, 2008

AutoPot Help Solve the World's Water and Food Crisis by Listening to Plants


AutoPot lettuce
Photo courtesy of AutoPot Systems

“Water will be more important than oil this century,” said former UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros Ghali. This short sentence pretty much sums up the water crisis, the food crisis and the overpopulation crisis we are in. In this regard, AutoPot Systems help us use water far more efficiently to grow our food, be it in the villages or the cities of the world, by employing a unique method: ‘listening’ to plants!

“In many regions of the world, fresh water, both groundwater and surface water, is being used faster than it can be replaced. West Asia faces the greatest threat. Over 90 per cent of the region’s population is experiencing severe water stress,” according to a UN highlights of the world’s water crisis, and “agriculture accounts for over 80 per cent of world water consumption, where around 60 percent of the water used for irrigation is wasted, lost to leaky canals, evaporation, and mismanagement.” To make matters worse, the number of mouths to feed is estimated to reach 9.1 billon by 2050, which begs the question, “Will there be enough water to grow our food?, to feed us all?”

In a world where the average amount of water needed to produce one kilogramme of potatoes is 1000 litres, wheat is 1450 litres and rice is 3450 litres, the solution to these crisis is to increase water productivity. This is done by delivering and applying water to crops more efficiently, thereby increasing crop yields per liter of water consumed. The AutoPot Systems achieves this goal admirably by ‘listening’ to plants.

AutoPot Melons
Photo courtesy of AutoPot Systems

According to the website, it “is designed so that the individual plants in their individual containers can dictate when they get their water, according to their needs. A wide range of different plants in an Autopot Systems will each take on water at totally different times and cycles, rather than being tied to an automated cycle. This is achieved without the use of electricity, pumps or expensive plumbing, yet the system operates fully automatically as dictated by the plants themselves.”

It is proved that “the Autopot Systems is so efficient in terms of water usage that there is absolutely no wastage,” and “where the soil is poor, it would have no problems producing good crops out of pure sand or gravels.” They even have a hybrid between aquaculture and hydroponics called AutoPot Aquaponics, to grow plants and breed fish simultaneously!

Increasingly, as oil to grow and transport food runs out, and electricity to pump water gets costly, food price will go up and the more than half of the world population now living in cities will benefit from systems such as AutoPot to grow some of their own food in the backyard or the community garden. The villagers can of course benefit from this system too. And the good thing is, we don’t have to wait till things get worse. We can do it now! Cool!

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