In a paper, Chandra Dake, CEO of Dake Rechsand, mentioned that throughout the year, floods wreak havoc across nations. According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), floods cause more than US$40bn in damage worldwide annually, besides taking hundreds of lives. And despite considerable risk reduction and mitigation measures in recent years, floods have only gotten recurrent and intensive due to climate change.
Meanwhile, the world has woken up to other harsh realities of global warming: Erratic rainfall, food insecurity, and water scarcity, among others. In regions like MENA, the incidence of floods and systemic water scarcity present a unique dilemma to reckon with. For example, the UAE government, as part of its Water Security Strategy 2036, carries out cloud-seeding initiatives. At times, however, the Gulf nation has faced flooding as a side effect. Likewise, many regional nations, including Sudan, Yemen, and Lebanon, continue to face water scarcity as well as recurrent floods.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) recently shed light on how soil can contribute. One square meter of healthy soil can store 200 litres of water and prevent flooding as a result. So, maintaining the storage capacity of the soil, it is argued, can increase flood resilience. This leads to finding solutions to enhance the storage capacity of, say, desert soil.
Breathable Sand is a medium characterised by unique water retention and air permeability properties. It has demonstrated outstanding water retention properties in multiple projects, finding application in low-input agriculture, water-wise landscaping, and water storage enhancement of soil. Breathable Sand’s application in increasing soil productivity finds an admirer in UNCCD’s recommendation to tackle flooding.
The application of the sand in Al Ajban farms has helped practitioners. The UAE Ministry of Education has promoted the application of Breathable Sand in multiple schools, while the Ras Al Khaimah Municipality has agreed to plant 1,000 trees using the technology in the first phase of a project. Dake Rechsand is also the technology and implementation partner for tree plantation drives launched by Jebel Ali Resorts and Nakheel.