In our recent feature on Soorty Enterprises’s remarkable sustainability and CSR practices, Mobeen Chughtai, Manager of Corporate Communications and CSR for Social Sustainability and Community Relations, discussed how Groasis’s patented Waterboxx technology is enabling the denim manufacturer’s tree planting initiatives to truly take root.
“In the two or three months required for a seedling’s roots to reach the groundwater, you must water them,” he said. “A vast majority of planted saplings simply die off because one: there is no water to give them; and two: there is nobody to water them. With Waterboxx®, you only need to add water once each year.” In the interview, Chughtai told us that the technology will be crucial to two of Soorty’s proposed tree-planting endeavours: the Karachi urban forest strategy and a pioneering plan to reclaim arable land from the Thar Desert. “We’re doing it phase-wise: last year, we tested out the viability of this product for our soil; this year, we’ve planted and are in the process of maintaining a small urban forest in one of our facilities, just to see whether the proposition can work.”
Groasis’s Waterboxx stands to circumvent each of the challenges noted by Chughtai: the depth at which the water table sits, the lack of regular rainfall, and labour shortages for conducting the watering process. According to Groasis, Waterboxx plant cocoons cut the amount of water required by juvenile trees by 90%, and boost the survival rate of saplings to in excess of 90%. The boxes, which can be removed from grown trees and reused up to 10 times, utilisd drip irrigation to keep a plant watered for up to a year whilst simultaneously providing it with the capacity to establish a strong and deep root system that will offer greater protection during periods of drought.
The solution, which costs US$2.50 per unit, can also be used for agricultural crops, cutting the water needed to grow them by 75%. The implications for both urban forestry and agriculture, as well as the potential for bringing deserts into bloom, are staggering. On its website, Groasis highlights a report from the UN that predicts 2.9bn across 48 countries to fall short of their water needs within the next decade – technologies such as Waterboxx, that both reduce the amount of water necessary for growing strong crops and offer a means to tackle food scarcity, will be of paramount importance to combating this looming crisis.