London - Farmers in arid countries could soon have a cure for the droughts that blight their crops – in the form of powdered water.
The powder, called Solid Rain, looks like sugar and is made of an absorbent material that can soak up liquids.
The water absorbed by the polymer can be stored for up to a year without evaporating.
Solid Rain was created by Mexican chemical engineer Sergio Jésus Rico Velasco.
He initially wanted to find an absorbent material that could be used in nappies to absorb lots of liquid in a small space.
Velasco later realised that his potassium-based polymer could be used as a way to cure Mexico’s drought problems.
Solid Rain is an absorbent polymer, called potassium polyacrylate, which can soak in water up to 500 times its original size.
A whole litre of water can be absorbed in just 10g of Solid Rain, which then converts into a thick, translucent gel.
The liquid retained in this gel will stay there for a year without evaporating or seeping out.
It can only be extracted when its added to soil and comes into contact with the roots of plants.
Solid Rain sells for about R246 per 500g.
The Mexican government conducted a one-season sample study on farmers using Solid Rain in the semi-arid state of Hidalgo, according to magazine Modern Farmer.
Farm plots showed up to 300 percent increases in crop yield when Solid Rain was used.
Solid Rain recently won the Ecology and Environment award from the Fundacion Miguel Aleman, and it has been used in Mexico for a decade.
However, Velasco didn’t market it heavily and it only went on sale in the US last year. – Daily Mail