Make it Rain

At the moment, South Africa is in the midst of an extreme water drought. This is no longer just an abstract concept. It is physically affecting our day to day lives.

The dams are practically empty. Extremely strict water restrictions are in place. Water meters have been physically adjusted to reduce water pressure. This is not an idle threat.

I have been working for a water saving company for the last eight months which specializes in irrigation, water harvesting and water conservation technologies. We have recently signed on to be the distributors for Africa of an amazing water saving product that honestly has the capability to really make a change in the water crisis. It has been such an exciting product to be involved in. We have had massive opportunities come our way and have begun to do some really important and meaningful work.

What is this great product?

Introducing Hydretain South Africa. Hydretain is a biodegradable and organic way to reduce your watering by up to 50%. It’s basically a root zone moisture manager. What does that mean? Hydretain regulates the moisture levels in the soil in between irrigation and rain. Hydretain is revolutionary in its technology and the way that it works. It doesn’t store water, it creates water. Yes, really. Hydretain is incredible in the sense that it takes the humidity in the soil and converts it into micro-droplets of water which accumulates into larger droplets and then creates reservoirs of water in the soil that the plant can now use. Hydretain takes moisture that would have been evaporated and converts it into plant usable water.

It doesn’t store water, it creates water.

With having this product at our disposal, we have conducted several varied trials to test it out and push the boundaries a bit. We have seen incredible results. Important results. The kind of results that are pertinent to the crisis in South Africa.

We have worked with a few farmers in the greater Durban area and have revolutionized the way farming can be done. We challenged our ‘trialers’ to give us the worst conditions for farming to prove just exactly how powerful this product is. We were given land that had clogged, impermeable soil and a section in the farm where the sprinklers never seemed to reach properly. To contrast these two rows of spinach and cauliflower, we compared it to the spinach and cauliflower in their optimal soil and watering conditions. We were so impressed with the results! Not only did the Hydretain-treated section thrive, it out-perfomed the plants in their optimal conditions whilst using far less water. They were watered twice a week whilst the control was watered daily. With less water being used, that also now allows the farmer to get more value for his money in the sense that he can get more product for the same resources. He’s actually saving money too because he no longer has such steep water costs and water pumping costs. He’s also saving time and labour which frees him up to work on other things on the farm. This then got us thinking… what if this was done all over in South Africa? What if all the farms used Hydretain? Imagine how much water would be saved if all of agriculture was saving nearly 50% of their watering!

We decided to take it a step further…

We got involved with the Department of Agriculture and worked in collaboration with the farmers in the area to introduce Hydretain to the daily process of farming. It has been both an exciting and frustrating time for us. For me personally, it was also incredibly humbling.

Isulabalimi has been one of our greatest assets in getting the ball rolling…

Isulabalimi Trust states the following as their mission: To facilitate the development of existing and new emergent farmers, co-operatives, rural and township enterprises in order to increase their meaningful participation in the main stream economy of South Africa.
In brief, our buzz words are, “ radical socio-economic development in South Africa.”

We realised that teaming up with them would help Hydretain grow in popularity at an exponential scale. They have created a system that empowers the black farmers in the greater KwaZulu-Natal area by creating a gap in the market for their product whilst reducing their losses and efforts. They have also enforced certain standards that allows the farmers to qualify for the programme and with our successful trials, farmers have now been prescribed Hydretain. This has been such a rewarding venture and we look forward to seeing the fruits of our labours.

Another area where we have had great success is in residential and public lawn areas. We have worked with parks and gardens to trial Hydretain and see how much of a difference it makes. Not only has Hydretain saved their watering costs by at least 40%, the grass and plants are healthier, greener and have established a better immunity to diseases and drought stress.

Ornamental plants which have been treated by Hydretain and left to wilt sprang back to life as soon as they were watered whilst the untreated plants died. We found this to be a very useful characteristic when our customers went away for the Christmas break period.

Overall, we have been very busy networking and have been incredibly busy trying to make a difference. We face some challenges though…

It has been really difficult trying to introduce people to the concept of not watering as frequently as they are used to. In their minds, if they don’t water frequently enough, their plants will die. They find it hard to trust that the product will work even though there is hard evidence that it does.

Another difficulty has been the farming community which is reluctant to break away from traditional farming. By introducing Hydretain, you are interfering with the way things are done and have been done for many generations. Many people are reluctant to change from their traditional way of farming. The product is different to the way things were done by their parents and grandparents etc.

This product honestly has the ability to make a difference if implemented across South Africa and the watering guidelines are adhered to. There are so many advantages to using the product that I haven’t even mentioned in this post.

Share this post. Share this idea. Let’s support making a difference and doing something to change the situation in South Africa. 

Many well wishes,