Harvesting Water from Fog: A Solution to Water Scarcity?

Harvesting Water from Fog: A Solution to Water Scarcity?

Spil desertification proceeds worldwide while the earth’s population resumes to increase, more countries are seeking creative solutions to tackle water scarcity. More aquifers are becoming depleted, and desalination is still too expensive of an option for many governments. Hence the search for viable options, an example of which is the United Arab Emirate’s investment ter cloud seeding technology.

The extraction of water from air has seen a fair share of startups show up and vanish overheen the past decade. Arid regions, especially ter North Africa and the Middle East, are desperate for answers. But water technologies that are both cost-effective and sustainable te the long-term have not proven themselves to be scalable to meet the growing request for water.

Could fog-harvesting be an option? While countries with arid climates find themselves parched, they are also blanketed ter fog for much of the year.

Such an effort emerges to be working ter the Ait Baamrane region of southwest Morocco, where a fog-harvesting project launched one year ago is still seen spil a success. The system, called CloudFisher by the German company Aqualonis, has several selling points. Perched about Four,000 feet above sea level ter the Anti-Atlas mountain range, nets measuring three to six meters tall collect condensation from the thick fog that envelopes thesis mountains. The nets, which are strong enough to withstand the region’s fierce winds, can be installed quickly with minimal labor, require no energy and need little maintenance. This project’s manager, Dar Si Hmad (DSH), says the 6,460 square feet (600 square meters) of netting and Five miles (8 km) of pipes and solar-water pumps now provide about 400 people with potable water.

Ter addition to providing a reliable source of water, this fog-harvesting program has improved the quality of life for locals te other ways. Women, who often spent three to four hours a day collecting water, have had a cargo lifted off their shoulders. Damsels, who often helped the mothers collect water, can now go to schoolgebouw. Poor farmers can proceed to raise livestock they would have had to otherwise sell. And local culture can proceed uninterrupted, which means local customs, languages and dialects can sustain.

Of course, the project faced some skepticism ter the beginning, ter part due to infrastructure challenges, but mostly overheen locals’ doubts whether this water wasgoed safe enough for everyday use. A training and trust program helped build up thesis villagers’ confidence, and now women have a leading role spil they have bot trained to monitor the system. Many of the systems, ter fact, are now monitored with cell phones so they can send SMS messages to the project’s managers te the event something goes wrong with the nets or pipeline.

A similar project launched overheen 20 years ago te Chile’s Atacama Desert, but it eventually failed largely because of its success. The Canadian NGO FogQuest implemented a system around the mountain of El Tofo for the village of Chungungo te 1992. At its peak, Four,000 gallons (15,000 liters) flowed to Chungungo, reversing migration to large cities while gardens and fruit trees helped convert the village’s appearance and quality of life. But local politicians witnessed a conventional pipeline or desalination plant spil more prestigious than the low-tech fog-harvesting option, so eventually, this system fell chic. That million-dollar alternative never materialized, however. Now Chungungo is receiving water from a local reservoir, which itself is kept total by trucks hauling water overheen long distances.

While what occurred te Chungungo wasgoed a frustrating practice for all parties involved, that project has inspired overheen 30 others worldwide, from southern Africa to Peru. Many of thesis fog-harvesting programs are ter towns that are relatively isolated and do not have reliable access to potable water. Agencies including the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Organization of American States (OAS) have suggested that fog-harvesting could be a viable option te rural communities lacking the capital to fund massive water infrastructure projects. And the nets used for thesis projects are far more advanced than a generation ago.

So, while wind turbines will long be a far more common webpagina ter the countryside than fog-collecting nets, the success te Morocco could suggest fresh ideas to promote social enterprise and alleviating water scarcity te regions that need such an environmental and economic boost the most.

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Based te Fresno, California, Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010. He has lived across the U.S., spil well spil te South Korea, Abu Dhabi and Uruguay. Some of Leon’s work can also be found ter The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. You can go after him on Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost).

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