August 15, 2012--A different approach to coping with drought (New York Times)

Water levels are low in reservoirs all over the parched West, but in many areas, the amount of water being used is no greater than the amount that evaporates, according to Moshe Alamaro, a scientist and inventor affiliated with M.I.T. So for far less than it costs to build a new reservoir, he said, water managers could get more use out of existing ones by reducing evaporation. Mr. Alamaro, the founder and chief technical officer of a start-up called MoreAqua, proposes to cover reservoirs with a layer of vegetable oil made from palm and coconut. The covering would be two-millionths of a millimeter thick – about one molecule in thickness, and hence called a monolayer – and two gallons of it would cover a square mile. It would reduce evaporation by up to 75 percent, he said.

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