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A low-cost way to irrigate the deserts

Providing deserts with water from distant rivers that flow into the ocean

Photo of Koldun Victor
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Lviv Technological Lyceum

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Researcher Institution

Website of Legally Registered Entity


How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 10+ years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Poisonous weeds grow all over the planet Earth ...

What country is your selected Place located in?

Purely for geographical reasons - all projects must be international

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

I have many friends who suffer from the fact that the desert is encroaching upon them.

Global changes in the Earth's climate can cause the desert area to grow. In this case, it will be even more difficult for people to live in such conditions. It is therefore best to take preventative measures now.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Due to the geographical and geological features of the Earth, 23% of its land is desert, where the evaporation of water is several times greater than the amount of precipitation.

There are but a few ways to solve this problem on a large scale: either bring in water by tankers or other means of transport, or desalinate the salt water of seas and oceans, but the costs of doing so are proportionally massive.

Meanwhile, freshwater rivers, whose water is well suited for agriculture and domestic use, are flowing into the oceans,.

Often these rivers flow into the ocean not too far from the deserts, several hundred or even tens of kilometers away.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Modern technologies allow to lay on the bottom of the sea a thin-walled pipe of large diameter from the point of confluence of the river into the sea to the shore of one of the deserts. Even when this desert is on a neighboring continent. At the same time, the wall of such a large diameter pipe should be rather thin, its task is to prevent mixing of river water with sea water. But the diameter of such a pipe should be large enough (meters or tens of meters) so that the natural river head of a few meters would be sufficient to create a high-flowing stream in the pipe. What is easy to check by calculations on the "hydraulic calculator"

In this way, fresh water, without any energy costs for pumping, will even go to another continent through a large diameter underwater pipeline. After that, the water will be pumped into the depths of the desert. In order to prevent the river water from floating along with the water pipeline due to the difference in density due to the difference in salinity, the waterpipe can be additionally loaded with ballast.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

If there is a huge amount of water flowing from one ocean region to another in the seas and oceans, then it would not be possible to "transport" fresh water in a similar manner from river deltas to desert without mixing of it with salt water, defeating the original purpose.

And so that fresh water does not mix with the sea, it is suggested to separate them with a thin pipe.

Such a pipe will resist the flow of fresh water in it, but if it has a diameter of several tens of meters, the resistance of the current can be overcome by creating pressure differential at the inlet and outlet of the pipe. For the safety of such a system, a plastic pipe needs to be sunk or laid on the bottom of the sea or ocean. The proposed design is actually a large hose that will lie on the seabed.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

And in order for this hose not to float to the surface of the ocean due to the fact that the density of fresh water is less than the density of seawater, it will be covered with a bit of bottom rock, for example, sand that sinks the pipe to the bottom, or inlaid with a smaller pipe made of much denser material used for ballast.

Using thin-walled pipes of large diameter, laid on the seabed, it is quite realistic to adjust the water supply of the deserts with river water, even from other continents.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

For the movement of water in the pipe will be enough that pressure, which creates a natural pressure drop from the excess of the height of the river bed (at the point of water intake) above the level of water outlet in the desert. With the help of such aqueducts, it is possible to supply fresh water to the desert coast, where it can reach the mainland with the help of pumps and channels.

Experiments on the models and the calculation models showed the full feasibility of the proposed method.

The proposed method can be used for non-volatile water supply of deserts with fresh water

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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