While South Africa is experiencing its worst drought in recorded history, a Johannesburg schoolgirl has created a superabsorbent polymer from recycled materials that could change the way crops are grown.

The polymer is made from orange peel and avocado skin, and can store hundreds of times its own weight in water.

Entitled ‘No More Thirsty Crops’, Kiara Nirghin’s project was the recipient of the Google Science Fair’s Community Impact Award for the Middle East and Africa.

Nirghin’s project could offer much-needed relief for the agricultural industry as it weathers the current water crisis. Her super absorbent material has the potential to be used in the creation of reservoirs that would enable farmers to maintain their crops at minimal cost.

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