Mist nets for harvesting water from fog have been around for a while and now the technology has come to Morocco. The results are impressive and have changed the lives of the inhabitants of five villages in the southwest of the country, who no longer have to travel several kilometres each day to fetch water.
At 1,225 meters above sea level, on the mountain overlooking Boutmezguida, five villages in the region of Sidi Ifni have installed forty huge nets to take advantage of fog. A fog fence or fog collector is an apparatus for collecting liquid water from fog, using a fine mesh or array of parallel wires. They trap the water droplets, which are then processed, mixed with well water and transported via pipelines to the villagers.
"In a region with semi-arid climate, having water by opening a simple tap is a revolution," says Aissa Derhem, president of the association Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture.
A Douar Id Achour, one of five communities served, women and children previously lost four hours a day on average to make round trips to retrieve well water.
"I filled two 20 litre four times in the day. But these 160 litres were sufficient not even us, because we have cattle! "says Massouda Boukhalfa, 47.
|Mist nets in Chile|
"Reaping the fog", has been used for more than twenty years in Chile, in the Andes. Developed by the NGO Fog Quest, which has already tested prototypes in several countries (Guatemala, Peru, Namibia, in particular), this is the first use in North Africa.
Symbolically, the water flow in Morocco began for the first time on March 21, World Water Day. Since then 92 homes and nearly 400 people have received running water to their homes.
"Morocco has a lot of fog due to three factors: the presence of an anticyclone, the Azores, a cold sea current and the obstacle represented by the mountain," says Derhem. "It's environmentally friendly and it helps preserve the water table in the region, which we were emptying."
The Dar If Hmad Association now wants to equip the surrounding villages and replace existing nets with new models capable of withstanding winds of 120 km /h.
The nets were built in Morocco with the help of a German foundation.