The Green Village vegetable garden team, from left to right: Sarah Tomas, Mina Frans, Griet Blake, Pieter Maria Stephanus and Katrina Engelbrecht. In front: Cheline Tomas, Veitjie Bester and Jody Stephans.
Photos: Wouter Kriel
Nets drawing water down from the sky by capturing condensation
from mist could revitalise water-starved areas. Wouter Kriel reports.
When the Rock Phosphate mine in Vredenburg, situated on the West Coast, closed down in 1999, 50 households from Green Village were left destitute. But a small group of residents of this impoverished community is hard at work, creating a vegetable garden that will generate money and create future employment. The garden uses water that is collected with mist nets.
A s the West Coast is known for extreme summer heat, lots of mist, and water scarcity, UNISA and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) have set up the mist nets as an experiment in collecting mist as a source of water for human and animal use, explains ARC researcher Marlise Joubert. “Last year we planted cabbage, lettuce, peas and watermelons,” says Katrina Engelbrecht, a Green Village resident and leader of the group.
“This year we planted mostly beans and cabbage, and the crops are looking good. “We sell the vegetables to shops in town and use them in our homes. The business is still too small to support us financially, but at least we have food to eat.” Depending on the location along the West mist is present up to 25km inland throughout the year, although less so in summer. Mist forms over the cold Atlantic sea and is blown inland due to the differences in land and sea.