Fog-harvesting

June 20, 2017

Morocco Placeholder
Morocco

Fog-harvesting

About the Implementing organization

Name: Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture

Country: Morocco

Year of establishment: 2010

Type of organization: Legally recognized non-profit status

Description

DSH designed, installed and operates the world’s largest operational fogwater collection system in the world in cooperation with the German Water Foundation. We currently pipe potable water into the homes of approximately 400 people across five rural Berber villages in the Anti-Atlas Mountains on the edge of the encroaching Sahara Desert, soon to be doubled. DSH’s fog project is an innovative technological solution to persistent water stress and environmental uncertainties wrought by climate change. Fog collection in this region takes advantage of a unique climate formed by the anticyclone of the Azores, the cold current from the Canary Islands, and the wind. Going into 1700 meters2 of brand new CloudFishers fog-trapping nets which will capture an average 30 tons water/day, making the project the first in the world to utilize this newly-developed fog collection technology. DSH’s holistic climate resilience project enhances access to natural resources via clean water from fog while simultaneously building resilient communities of environmental stewards through environmental education, WASH and sustainable livelihoods initiatives, particularly for marginalized Berber women and their children. In an area when potable water is increasingly scarce and women bear the brunt of resource scarcity, this project provides an alternative water source and gender-conscientious programming in an innovative and inspiring way.

Nature Element

Mountains

Type of Action

Sustainable use

Sustainable Development Element

Water security

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

Environmental Impacts

Traditional water-management in this region was predicated on parsimonious water use; people used hand-dug wells and cisterns for rainwater catchment to meet their survival needs. Given the increasing cycles of drought, the scarcity of rain, the aquifer capacity for renewal being low, fog is the resource par excellence for water, a sustainable supplemental resource. Both traditional and modern, fog was once only considered a nuisance, but our pilot has demonstrated the invaluable role fog plays in the environment. It relieves the pressure put on aquifer water and well use. Human livelihoods have improved on many levels, there is no longer water-anxiety, the potable water we deliver surpasses all national health requirements, there is little use of fossil energy for the wells using pumps, many of which are solar-powered, and we are now preparing a project to recycle grey water for agricultural purposes and reforestation.

Sustainable Development Impacts

The people of Ait-Baamrane on the edge of the Sahara, can no longer rely on well-water as they have for centuries. Groundwater has been depleted by overuse as well as drought and climate change, making life in this region increasingly strenuous. DSH’s fog-water harvesting project introduces a technological innovation inspired by ancient fog-collecting practices, providing accessible potable water to over 400 people in five villages. Bringing running water into the homes of DSH\'s beneficiaries significantly improved their livelihood, provided access to cleaner, safer, and sufficient water, reduced the risks women faced hiking 3+ hours a day to fetch water, and brought some residents back to the village. Simultaneously, the DSH Water School is one of the only children’s programs in Morocco devoted to environmental and STEM education, engaging children from beneficiary villages in hands-on, action-oriented lessons on conservation, pollution, ecology, climate change and more.

Scalability

Ten years of applied research and feasibility studies conducted by Dar Si Hmad confirm that harvesting potable water from fog can be successfully expanded to multiple surrounding hillsides, providing clean water to an extended network of rural Berber villages that suffer from drought-induced water stress. Current beneficiaries have been passionate ambassadors for the concept across Morocco, and DSH has supported the development of other locally-led fog collection projects through open-source materials and outreach. DSH is currently in the process of replacing the original infrastructure with nets that will enhance fog-collection capacity two fold over the same surface area of netting at the current project site. DSH has begun expanding the fog-collection project to 8 new villages, providing access to potable water to 500+ new beneficiaries. Additional projects in the planning stages include a fogwater-fed reforestation program, and an extension to the Rif, Northern part of Morocco.

Replicability

Fog-water harvesting can be implemented in any region where fog abounds, conventional water access is limited, including most tropical, temperate and arid regions of the world. FogQuest suggests that a minimum annual average water-collection rate of 5 L/m2 is required to make fog collection viable. At our project site fog is very common, and DSH routinely sees a water-collection rate of 10.5 L/m2, double the amount of FogQuest’s baseline. The bulk of our research on the fog project is available online, translated in 3 languages, and a specific study was completed in this sense. DSH’s major presence in the COP22 in Marrakech has also aided at making fog-technology more known and we have had more than 5000 people visit our booth. Through DSH’s Ethnographic School, we make the fog collection project and its communities accessible to researchers and students. Various professionals regularly visit the site, ensuring the technology is shared with and enhanced by cutting-edge researchers.

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