Water from Thick Air

NGO Dar Si Hmad has set up a large fog harvesting system in Morocco that turns fog into running water, providing a reliable water source in drought-afflicted areas.

Author Anna Rees, 04.11.16

NGO Dar Si Hmad has set up a large fog harvesting system in Morocco that turns fog into running water, providing a reliable water source in drought-afflicted areas.

Increases in global temperature are having a harmful impact on the drier, more arid areas of our planet. According to the UN, droughts in Morocco have risen from once a decade at the start of the 20th century to five or six times a decade by the start of the 21st century. The country recently experienced its driest start to winter in 20 years with rainfall at about 77 per cent below normal levels. The current drought is expected to halve wheat yields and will slow economic growth to 1.2 per cent, down from 3.8 per cent last year.

To help overcome water scarcity in southwest Morocco, local NGO Dar Si Hmad last year built and installed the world’s largest fog harvesting system, comprised of 600 metres of vertical square nets, solar pumps and 8km of pipes. The nets ‘catch’ the fog which then condenses into droplets of water and trickles down to the pumps before being piped to local communities.

The project, located in the Anti-Atlas Mountains, capitalises on the high levels of fog that cloaks the Aït Baâmrane region for six months of the year and serves the local indigenous Amazigh communities. The system has already brought reliable, safe water to over 400 people who never had running water before. In order to make sure such a large system is as robust and efficient as possible, Dar Si Hmad teamed up with German NGO WasserStiftung, eventually creating a model that addressed the limitations of previous designs and increases the water yield.

Such a system not only offers benefits in terms of water availability, it also minimises or eradicates the need to go long distances to gather water, a task that usually falls at the feet of girls and women. According to Dar Si Hmad, collecting water can take up to 3.5 hours and can make it difficult for girls to regularly attend school.

The team is now experimenting with next steps, namely developing new nets that can withstand strong winds and harsh weather conditions and trap more fog. To learn more about the project, head to Dar Si Hmad’s website.

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