The ‘Dew Water Harvest’ project saw the creation of a fully-functional dew-water harvesting unit on Macdonald Campus that acts as a hands-on sustainable teaching tool for students to learn about water conservation and dew-harvesting. It is comprised of four small condensers used mainly for educational and research activities. The unit serves as a complimentary source of clean water for irrigation at the Horticulture Research Centre.
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The Horticultural Research Centre on Macdonald Campus of serves as a living laboratory for student projects from all disciplines of McGill University. It is an excellent training and education facility for students involved in agricultural production, but like any operational farm, it requires constant inputs, such as irrigation, to remain operational. To this end, a decentralized irrigation system which uses its own supply of water - such as is made possible by the Dew Water Harvest project - is a more sustainable and economical option than purchasing water from the municipality. In addition to its sustainable and economical advantages, this system supplies the crops with naturally soft water free from the added minerals, chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals introduced to the municipal water system.
Dew watering systems are very rare despite their significant advantages, and this unique unit is an excellent teaching and demonstration tool to raise awareness of sustainable water systems. The dew watering system builds upon the success of the rainwater harvesting system that was installed in 2010 thanks to a previous SPF grant, complementing the existing system. The rainwater collector operates on rainy days, and the dew-water harvest unit works on both rainy and dry days to supplement the water supply.
Resources from the SPF were used for the materials and labour involved in the creation of this unit; specifically, to purchase the 4 small condensers, water storage tanks, and piping. The budget covered the cost of one MSc student, and 1 summer student for a year to install and operate the harvester.
With the water collected from both the rainwater and dew harvesting systems, the Horticultural Research Centre is able to produce a wide variety of crops as part of the McGill Feeding McGill program.
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