Nice to see the practical convergence of solar and water technologies with Redbush Tea's funding to make an Elephant-proof oasis for the Bushman people in Botswana.
People interested in this area should be aware of a new string to the bow. Flexi Rain Tanks has developed the Water Cube, an 800 litre water tank weighing only 11kg. It folds up like a tent to 10% of its size for storage and transport, and assembles with 8 screws in 10 min see 1min Assembly Video
Originally developed for the suburban gardener during Australian droughts there are obvious applications in sustainable aid and disaster relief.
The Bushman people are certainly isolated, but the Yalbang School in the Humla region of Nepal is 23 days walk from the nearest road (or only 10 days from a rather dodgy air strip) but now the health post there has a Water Cube installed thanks to a Sydney based charity ISIS who are active in Nepal and Uganda. The tank was posted to Sydney, & went in the hold baggage with the next aid worker travelling to Nepal.
According to the Red Cross, the Solomon Islands have many small (1500 sqm) islands where there is plenty of rain but no permanent water for a family living on them since the soil is very porous. The small boats used for transport there would cope better with a 95x48x28cm box than a conventional tank.
Even first world locations like Christchurch could have made good use of tanks which are easy to store, transport, deploy and reclaim for later use elsewhere. After the first major earthquake, some Christchurch suburbs were without power & hence mains water for a month.
According to Peter Hyde the "Tale of three cities" Blogger, people were presenting 2-10 litre containers to 20,000 litre water tankers. In an alternate scenario, the tanker would carry 25 folded 800 litre tanks, the driver stops at a street corner, assembles & fills the tank, then does the same at the next stretegic location. Next day, next suburb. For many situations, deploying more, smaller lightweight tanks allow people to have water storage closer to (or at) their home so less time and effort is spent carrying a vital but heavy resource. The chance is also there to catch their own rain and use it locally.
A Distributed Water Solution for Suburbs during Droughts
These easy to deploy tanks encourage a distributed solution to a distribution problem. More, smaller lightweight tanks allow people to collect their own rain and use it creating less pressure on the mains water in times of drought. Think water miles
not just food miles!
I must declare an interest here, I invented the Water Cube, so the water used to flush my toilet and wash my clothes travels only 40m from my garage roof. Our consumption of mains water is 40% of the target for a family of four. Contrast that with the fact that in Melbourne we are building an A$4billion, ~100MW, desalination plant and it will be an 85km pipeline which has to be dug in to supply the network with yet more power used to pump the water. Most of this chlorinated & fluoridated water will be flushed down our toilets and used to wash our clothes. Wikipedia source info on Melboune desal plant
Flexi Rain Tanks