Planting trees in the 3rd World is a low hanging fruit to reduce deforestation, global warming and poverty at the same time. Growing trees is easy, but logistics involved to disperse them are cumbersome. Demotech wants to activate the power the bottom of the pyramid to start planting trees at a massive scale.

Saplings need a fertile substrate, some light and warmth, but above all water. Demotech designed a watering system for small scale tree nurseries that is socially appropriated for the poorest people anywhere in the world. The TreeDripper fits in an envelope, including the simple tools and instructions necessary to replicate it manifold with materials abundantly available in any village or town in the world.

How does it work?

The water of the TreeDripper goes into a plastic bag, which serves as a liner of a larger water container. These bags are checked to be watertight, and protected by a stronger plastic outer sheet to keep it up straight. To get the water from inside this container drop by drop is the a high-tech problem to be solved with low-tech means! This at the very slow pace necessary and adjustable precisely, in a way that's fast, easy to learn and at no cost.

The central trick is to let a very small bucket float in the water container, with it top edge a little above the water surface. No way the water can stream in, as this little bucket is checked out to be leak-free and is attached to a float with plenty buoyancy. Now getting in that drop after drop is easy by using a wick: cotton, hair, cloth, rope ..

Size and material used determines the rate of flow. Eight drops per minute, or per twenty or whatever is needed and immediate adjustable to what proofs to be needed.

Next problem is to get those drops from the small bucket out to seeds and saplings. That's done with a very thin, thus flexible self-made hose, that allows the water from inside the small floating bucket to seep to the outside. The end of this hose can pass out at the bottom of the water container leak-free. Just outside the bottom of the water container the end of the hose peeps out. At this point the rate of flow, drops per minute can be counted.

In this way the water drips out very slowly, independent of the water-level from full to near empty. The water does not have to be clean, it can be grey water.

The water drips onto a cloths covering a small area. The tree seeds and saplings are placed in a substrate inside of small planters, made out of strips of plastic bag. The planters have no bottom and are placed on top of the cloth. The cloth transports the water from the dripper to the planters, allowing the substrate to moisturize and the plants to grow.

The unique design of the TreeDripper avoids water loss through evaporation and maximizes tree growth drop by drop.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why don't you use a bucket? Buckets are available, but for really poor people it is a heavy investment. That's why most of them are broken. And you can't send buckets by mail.
  • Do people have water? There is always some water from a puddle that is not good for drinking or grey water, the water that remains after washing cloths or cutlery.
  • Do people have fertilizer? Probably urine can be utilized as well.
  • Do people have plastic bags? Yes, too many.
  • Is the design open, and free to use for anyone? Yes, the TreeDrippers will be published under General Public License.
  • What is still missing? Contacts to airline companies, budget to develop a proper manual, budget for commercial imagery,
  • Can I participate? Absolutely! Fill in this form to get in touch.


More on how to teach seeding, watering, nursing, planting and protecting trees, follow the TreeDripper blogs and instruction manuals that are soon to be published here and on Facebook.