Marq De Villiers

Marq de Villiers is a journalist with 13 books to his credit, including Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource.

Recent Articles

Water Technologies Somewhat to the Rescue

Online Extra: Often, in the water world, large changes can be made with simple, no-cost policy decisions.

We found the little beetle just after sunup near the top of a dune, some 40 miles from the sea. It was already 93 degrees Fahrenheit, and the little creature, a kind of scarab, was standing on its forelegs, its back to the coastal breezes, its hindquarters waving feebly in the air, though whether to help it maintain balance I couldn't tell. My guide, a lanky Afrikaner called Piet Pieterse, interposed his hand between the sun and the beetle, and the little creature flopped over, indignantly I thought, and then, when the shadow disappeared, resumed its precarious balancing act. Nothing much seemed to be happening -- it just teetered there, on its head -- but later in the labs of the nearby Gobabeb Research Station, Pieterse showed me a similar beetle's back, which was pitted with tiny runnels like erosion channels. Which, in a way, they were: This is the Namib's fog-collecting beetle. Those little runnels condense the fog coming in from the chilly Benguella Current and direct it to the...