LOCATION: the Philippines and potentially Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, South Sudan,Haiti
SUMMARY: The Gaia Dam isa multi-purpose, environmentally friendly, small-scale dam that presents an interesting solution to simultaneously increase access to irrigation water for smallholder farmers while restoring soil productivity, managing floods and stormwater, and potentially producing clean energy.
PROBLEM SPACE: Climate change resiliency and food security are the two topics that must be dealt with in the 21st century with urgency. In the last decades, several progresses were made to reduce poverty and to create resilient cities and communities but because of climate change, these progresses may be hindered and 100 million people may be driven into poverty. Poor people have fewer resources and are
more vulnerable to the shocks and effects of the changing weather ranging from more extreme flooding, intense and longer drought, and stronger typhoons. This problem is not only for areas that are identified to be prone to the effects of climate change, but for the whole world. The surging sea levels may displace 760 million people around the world and this just not only affects the poor but everyone living within the inclusion zone. Clearly, an urgent, environmentally friendly, and low-cost technology is the key in order for us to quickly adapt to the changing environment and to mitigate any further damages that climate change may further bring. This is where we introduce Gaia Dam in order to address these needs and protect the natural environment and the lives and habitat of our fellow people.
SOLUTION: The Gaia Dam started as an undergraduate thesis of Kent, Rhey, and Ralph. When the team completed their study and won their first competition, the University of the Philippines’ Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development (UP-OVCRD) approached the team and asked if they are interested in patenting and commercializing the technology because of its potential to bring a positive impact to the agricultural sector of the Philippines.Since then, the team has focused on how the technology will be able to act as an environmentally-friendly, affordable, and effective alternative to the conventional concrete dams which our farmers need.The materials used to build the dam are environmentally friendly and recycled.