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The air of Arrakis was usually hot and dry. However, at night, when the air cooled, some moisture would develop. This moisture would then be carried by winds across the surface of the planet. Essentially a large air intake, the windtraps would capture this air so that the moisture could be extracted from it by the Fremen, after it condensed.
Imperial Planetologist Pardot Kynes incorporated the windtraps into his terraforming program. However, he had surmised that the water reclaimed from this system would not be enough, and that a self-sustaining precipitation system would need to exist. As a result, he began a plantation drive across the planet.
In Dune video games, Windtraps provide energy and water to the base's buildings and personnel, ensuring power for radar, and certain weapons.
- Dune II windtraps reduce corrosive damage to structures caused by the harsh environment, and powers the radar screen, yet, the zone map was still visible without radar, and neither weapon system requires power to operate.
- Dune 2000 windtraps are more important, the nominal power level is always 100% or above. Without power, the radar outpost could not operate, so the radar screen is not available. Production and building speed decreases, Rocket Turrets will not work without sufficient power, and Death Hand missile will not progress.