Complex Problems, Simple Solutions

If you have had good or negative results from other theories, you might let others know here.

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Complex Problems, Simple Solutions

Postby ColinJEly » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:21 pm

I saw an article on the net recently(unfortunately cant give a link to it at the moment), anyway it was about the shortage of potable water in the 'third world'. It depicted a typical hut in places like sub-saharan africa. Places where people have to walk for up to one hour each way to find water, which is then probably only marginally fit to drink. It was saying that places like this get annual rainfalls which could be described as fair to moderate, think western victorian wheat/sheep country. The hut depicted had a typical thatch roof. So what happens when it rains, all the water runs off the roof and onto the ground. The article suggested a very simple solution, put a roof and gutter system on to catch the rainwater, it suggested you don't need an expensive 'western style' tank, just a large hole lined with plastic sheeting and presumably covered in netting to keep the mozzies out!
I was mentioning this article to a visiting american scientist the other day and he was telling me about a friend of his who is a missionary. His friend told him about where he was working, everything is done by daylight. When the sun goes down everything stops. He said forget building expensive solar powerplants, which don't work anyway, just ask spain, we would be better donating to these countries small little pv units, the type you can buy in autobarn or rays outdoors and small storage batteries to run a light.
At the moment no schoolwork gets done at night, and the teachers cant correct any work at night either

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Location: Vic high country

Postby antigoon » Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:24 pm

In Malawi it is estimated only 4% of the population is connected to the grid. The issue of lighting and school work is a popular discussion topic. The primary source of energy for cooking, heating and light in most village huts is open wood fires. These have adverse consequences for local children from education and health perspectives. The open fires are also poor from a NSF perspective as these have led to deforestation, erosion and loss of topsoil/fertility exacerbated by annual burning of ground. Scarce potable water is an issue despite the significant rainfall because little water is stored in the landscape, flood damage is an annual event and village groundwater is frequently polluted through septic tanks and long drops. Provision of simple PV units and water filters together with NSF/permaculture practices would change lives. Great clip on water filter solutions at

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