The Cluster structure
On entering this Cluster, visitors encounter a water fountain that conveys the image of a natural oasis in an arid landscape. In this area, visitors are also provided with information, via presentations and performances that highlight the challenges, and resources, typical of these arid environments.
At the end of their tour of the Cluster, visitors will have the opportunity to sample and purchase some of the fruits and other products that thrive in these parts of the world.
The word “arid” immediately conjures images of dry, desert lands, hostile environments that offer little chance for life, of any kind, to take root and to thrive.
However, while the assumption might be that all arid zones are the same, they are, in fact, often quite different from one another. Soil types, flora and fauna, water balance, as well as levels of human activity, vary. It is also a common misconception that these arid places are uninhabited. Indeed, one-fifth of the world’s population lives in places severely lacking in water.
Given this diversity, it is clear that there is no one single definition of what an “arid” zone might be. Their common characteristic, of course, is dryness. This is measured by a correlation between temperature and rainfall, to create categories such as super-arid, arid, and semi-arid.
Various solutions have been suggested and used to maximize water resources in an integrated fashion, from rain-water harvesting to efforts to prevent evaporation. Many of the successful innovations in rain-fed agriculture have come about as a result of adapting established methods to local conditions. While replacing some outdated techniques has helped, success has proved greatest when traditional practices have been upgraded.
That said, the challenges faced by people living in places where water is lacking
and climate change is impacting, need to be addressed as a matter of urgency, to ensure that people can enjoy a better quality of life in the future, which includes being able to source adequate food supplies.