Turning fog into water in Morocco

Fog in Morocco - jbdodane - FlickrHarvesting fog for water is also good for the water table in the region. (Image source: jbdodane/Flickr)Technology to harvest fog for freshwater that comes out the tap is bringing relief to villages in the Moroccan highlands

For this to be possible, giant mesh panels are built into the ground on hilltops and as fog wafts through the panels, the mesh traps tiny water droplets. The water so obtained is added to water drilled from the ground and is then supplied to villages lower down the slopes through a network of pipes.

In this case, in the southwest Moroccan highlands, about 40 mesh panels crowd the top of Boutmezguida, a 1,225 metre-high peak. Clean water collected is supplied to five villages of the Berber community, which number about 400 people across 92 households, according to Mounir Abbar, the project’s technical manager. It has been operational since March this year.

The setup was put in place by a regional association called Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture (DSH). Its chairman, Aissa Derham, explains, “Morocco has a lot of fog because of three phenomena – the presence of an anticyclone from the Azores (north Atlantic islands), a cold air current and a mountainous obstacle.” He added that DSH hopes to implement this project in other parts of Morocco as well. Over the next few months, it plans to replace the mesh panels with a material capable of withstanding stronger winds.

Derham had first come across this technology about 20 years ago in Chile where it was first used more than two decades ago. It has since been used in Peru, Namibia and South Africa as well. DSH worked on this project with a Canadian charity called Fog Quest. North Africa’s first pilot project became operational after almost a decade spent on refining techniques.

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