AGRITECH

How Kitui varsity collects dew to irrigate plants

The technology works in many soil types and even in rocky areas.

In Summary

• There is always water in the sky. It falls in the form of dew at night.

• This can be harvested either to grow crops or for household use.

Dew on plants in a farm
Dew on plants in a farm
Image: COURTESY

A Kitui-based university last year introduced a technology that involved dew harvesting. The South Eastern Kenya University in Kwavonza harvests dew to support farming.

Dr Moses Mwangi says the technology, which condenses atmospheric moisture into water, uses Groasis Waterboxes for planting. Mwangi is the head of School of Environment, Water and Natural Resources-Seku.

Seku has been training residents on how to improvise and use locally available materials to make the Groasis Waterbox. The box has a bucket with a lid and a vertical tunnel in the middle for two plants. The bucket stores water.

A wick at the bottom allows water from the box to trickle into the ground to water roots. The lid has gutter-like rows that collect dew, which, after condensation, is directed to the box for storage.

“There is always water in the sky. It falls in the form of dew at night. It can be harvested either to grow crops or for household use. Even in the driest of times, there is always water in the atmosphere that can be harvested to grow crops,” Mwangi said.

He said the technology works in many soil types and even in rocky areas.

He said a water box collects 50ml of water in eight hours. This meets the optimum requirement for a plant in a day. A wick at the bottom of the reservoir transmits the water from the box to the plant in drops, as it would happen with drip irrigation.

Peter Ekatorot, a student of Hydrology and Water Resources Management, set up trial sites in 2018 in Makueni and Turkana counties to determine the technology’s viability.