4 billions year ago, as earth was shaken by volcanic chaos, water vapor escaped from its depths to condense into the atmosphere.
Then, temperature dropped torrential rains hit the ground for millions of years. The first oceans were born.
The water, source of life, would lead to the development of the first living organisms of the planet.
Today, the Earth’s surface, which has become a blue planet, is 70% covered with water.
In the atmosphere, in the polar ice, in the seas and oceans, in the rivers, in the water tables, water is everywhere.
But most of this water is salty or inaccessible.
Freshwater, the one we need, represents barely 1% of all the water on Earth. A tiny droplet in a liquid ocean.
This freshwater, so rare and so precious, human thus need to learn to share it.
In light of the disparities between rich and poor countries, and the increase in the world population, access to freshwater is a major stake for the planet.
Freshwater, universal wealth which we believe to be endless, has became the 21st century’s blue gold.
Masters of water
A Jean-Paul LLAMAZARES movie
It all begins with crazy numbers, statistics which are almost unreal.
Today on Earth, one out of seven humans does not have access to the freshwater that he needs.
46% of the world population does not have access to tap water and 4,000 children die every day from a disease caused by undrinkable water.
What can we do to grant every human being access to freshwater, an essential resource for his survival ?
Environment, climate, poorness. Faced with shortages, solving the problems related to water access requires to take into account a lot of factors.
From the high plateaus of South America to the African deserts, through islands and large metropolitan areas, each location imposes its own specificities.
And yet, solutions exists, everywhere on the planet.
Engineers, researchers, inventors, have learned to hunt down freshwater wherever it hides, to purify it to make it drinkable, to cultivate the soil without wasting water.
Our story, is that of these Masters of Water who are fighting so that the world doesn’t die of thirst.
Polyter : a revolutionary technique
Eauze, South West of France
In southern France, another technique, revolutionary, could also contribute to changing things radically.
The inventor is the agricultural engineer Philippe Ouaki Di Giorno. A man passionate about nature since childhood, who tackled one of the key problems of agriculture.
The infiltration of irrigation waters into the depth of Erath.
Philippe Ouaki Di Giorno : « It is important to know that when you have an input of 1 liter of water, when it is humid clay soil, 80% is lost and 20% is available. When it is a sandy soil, 96% is lost and only 4% is available.
So do you realize the tremendous quantities of water needed to start getting a result ?
When you know that in order to grow corn, you need between 700 and 1,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilo. In fact, the plant doesn’t take all of this in. It is a heresy. »
Capturing water before it seeps into the soil.
Maintaining it at the surface so that the plant can use it.
That is the goal of the product invented by Philippe Ouaki Di Giorno.
A product he named « Polyter« . Tiny pellets that look like fine pale green crystals.
For its inventor, every pinch is a true treasure.
Philippe Ouaki Di Giorno : « Polyter is a hydro-activator fertilizer, organic, whose specificity is to have its nutritional elements in the INSIDE and it has another specificity which has very powerful retention.
We can, from the dry grain, develop up to 300, even 500 times its volume in water, depending on the pH of the water used. »
Every grain of Polyter behaves like a highly powerful sponge capable of storing tremendous quantities of water then returning it gradually according to the plant’s need.
100 grams of Polyter can absorb up to 20 liters of water which then becomes solid.
Made up of a biodegradable organic material, the pellets also contain nutritional elements. Natural fertilizers which favor the growth of plants.
A single pinch of Polyter acts as a plant pantry.
Polyter : a reservoir of water and nutritional elements
Philippe Ouaki Di Giorno : « It acts exactly like a reservoir of water and nutritional elements, which thus allows the plant to have its water reserve at its disposal grafted to it. It is not parallel to it, and that is the invention … in part. It will be dry water, it will be water that is truly stored as closely as possible to the plant. »
Philippe Ouaki Di Giorno achieved his childhood dream. To make plants grow higher and faster without wasting water, thanks to an ecological product.
His invention is currently being used in many countries. From Parisian gardens to golf courses in the United Arab Emirates, from Japanese balconies to Provence greenhouses. It allows farmers to reduce by half their water consumption and their fertilizer ratio.
In France, the city of Dax was the first one to use the product for all of its plantations.
Marc LASCARAY-Garden technical manager of Dax city : « We can see the Polyter attached to the rootlets. Moreover, you can see that it is oxygenated, which means that there is space between the rootlets, and thus an improved microbial activity, whereas the rest around is very compact.
« Instead of sprinkling half an hour every two days, now we only sprinkle 3 minutes once a week. »
But Philippe Ouaki Di Giorno has another goal even more ambitious. To grow plants where everyone claims it is impossible. According to him, with his invention, the driest regions could become colored in green.
Philippe Ouaki Di Giorno : « Polyter will be optimized, quantitatively speaking, which means that the more you refine the input of water.
« you can save up to 80% of water. We’re not talking about 5 or 10%. It’s 80% of water ! »
In addition, it activates the development of the roots deep into the soil. So, the roots nodulated with Polyter grow very quickly into the soil.
It means that for campaigns of forest production, campaigns to fight desertification, among others, it really is the ultimate weapon, if I may say so. »
This weapon has already proved its extreme effectiveness on the other side of the planet, right at the heart of the Pacific ocean.
Here, in New Caledonia, the exploitation of nickel in open-pit mines has stripped down mountains slopes.
Marylin Chen San, Nurserywoman : « A few years ago, all these mines were exploited. And the managers left the mines as they were. Afterward, with rains and fires and all, all the soil moved to the river and to the sea. »
Soils, abandoned by plants, can no longer absorb the heavy rains frequent in the region during half of the year. When it rains, water hurtles down the slopes at high speed and carries all the way to the ocean soil laden with remnants of nickel. This flow ravages the ground and dangerously pollutes lagoon waters.
Marylin Chen San is Nurserywoman in Noumea, in charge of a public program of reforestation. For 4 years, she has been using Polyter to replant trees on the slopes of these devastated zones. The roots of these young sprouts, thus grow deep in the ground. The result : the ground becomes more stable and the water is absorbed by the roots instead of hurtling down the slopes.
Marylin Chen San: « when you see trees like this after only one year thanks to the Polyter, it’s a huge satisfaction ».
From the eroded slopes of New Caledonia to the orchards in Egypt, from the Moroccan king’s gardens to the small desert villages in the Sahel, Polyter is developing in every arid region of the world.
Philippe Ouaki Di Giorno : « And this is how we create developments in Burkina Faso, where in the Zogore area, we have reforested 13 villages with 50,000 trees. The trees are now over meters high in an area where people said it was impossible.
In Senegal, now there are large programs with Polyter but the important thing to know is that in the past,
« With a given amount of tomato seed and a certain amount of water, they used to grow 400 kilos of inferior tomatoes. With the same amount of water and the same amount of seeds, with polyter, they get on average 2 tons of beautiful tomatoes. We have created wealth »
In Sahel, some are already calling Philippe « the man who fertilizes deserts ».
Tomorrow, his Polyter will perhaps help solve in part the problem of water shortage in agriculture. But Philippe wants his business to remain almost home-made. Today still, he continues to make his product in secret and refuses squarely to yield his patents to large food-processing companies, even though some of them have proposed to him considerable sums of money.
Under every latitude, in isolated regions or at the heart of big cities, everywhere, men and women are working hard to make freshwater a wealth accessible to all. The answers they bring are adapted to each location, each climate, each people. Local solutions that will perhaps enable them to face the global shortage. alongside these Masters of blue gold, the international community is mobilizing. In 2010, for the first time, the general assembly of the United Nations has integrated the right to have access to water into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A high symbolic resolution whose fulfillment is still expected. Because if technology can solve many problems, financial means are often still lacking. Water, source of life, has become a political tool. Today, in the 21st century, every human being on the Earth could have access to the freshwater he needs. The solutions exist. Science and the ingenuity of researchers has found them. All that remains now is to devote the means necessary for that.