The image of water flowing through one’s fingers like sand is a powerful image for those in parched desert lands. Water is valuable and the inability to hold onto it can drive one to tears.
However, thanks to a new nanotechnology, sand will no longer be used as a metaphor for loss of water.
By treating the surface of each particle of sand with a special nano-coating, the sand is rendered hydrophobic -- it repels water.
The result is that instead of water running through the sand, the sand actually forms a barrier to water and prevents its penetration.
By layering this sand beneath top soils, water is saved and forms a reservoir from which the roots of plants can drink - even in a desert.
In test fields on the Arab Peninsula, the super-sand is showing great promise. With new hydrophobic sand in place, traditional watering of desert plants five or six times a day can be reduced to one watering, saving 75 per cent more water, a precious resource that is dwindling across the Arab Peninsula.