In order to avoid extreme dry periods, naturally occurring bacteria in soil could save large amounts of water: it could help millions of people in poor areas. Earth Scientists Ruud Schotting (Sultan Qaboos Chair of Quantitative Water Management) and Amir Raoof from Utrecht University received an STW Open Mind grant to develop this simple, but unconventional idea.
During dry periods many areas on Earth experience a scarcity of drinking water. In places with a dry climate where trickles of groundwater are already in short supply, water can easily seep into the soil disappearing deep into the earth through fractures in the crust. If these cracks were sealed, the shallow bottom could act as a huge drinking water reservoir allowing water to be easily pumped out.
A plug in the crack
The easiest way to keep the water available and out of the cracks is to place a plug in the fracture, just as you would in a sink, which would make a natural waterproof basin. Utrecht University Geoscientists Ruud Schotting and Amir Raoof have devised a simple but unconventional method using soil bacteria, which they explain in the following video.