Fog harvesting is real, and it’s bringing clean drinking water to communities in need.
High in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of southwestern Morocco is where the Berber people live.
The Berber people, also called the Imazighen, have lived in scattered settlements across Morocco and its surrounding countries for thousands of years.
Today, about 14 million Berber people live in Morocco.
Over the past 30 years, life has become increasingly difficult for the Berbers living in the Anti-Atlas Mountains because of desertification and abnormally intense droughts.
Before the droughts it had always been warm and dry there, but they had sufficient rain water and well water to survive.
These long dry spells forced women and children to spend an average of four hours a day on round trips to gather drinking water.
When the water shortages got dire, water had to be hauled by tanker truck, which was time-consuming and expensive.
They urgently needed a solution to their water problem.
Luckily, their unique climate offered them a potential solution.
There is a lot of fog in this area of southwestern Morocco because of some interesting meteorological phenomena.
There is a large, stationary high pressure system that circulates air off the coast of Morocco over a cold-water current from the Canary Islands. This causes air to pick up moisture and form clouds, which are low-lying and full of water.
This means that while there is very little rain on these mountains, there is a lot of thick fog, which, thanks to some new green technology, can be harnessed and turned directly into drinking water.
Dar Si Hamad designed and installed a fog-water harvesting system.
The way fog-harvesting works is actually fairly simple.
So far this fog harvesting project in Morocco has provided running water to 92 households, or nearly 400 people.
The best part? Fog water is pure, free from any contaminants and pollutants, so it can be used for drinking water without any treatment.
This makes fog-catching an incredibly affordable, efficient and environmentally friendly way to harvest drinking water.
Dar Si Hamad’s project was awarded a United Nations Climate Change prize in 2016, and there are already plans to extend the fog-catching system to other villages and parts of Morocco.
Fog Quest, a Canadian non-profit, has already set up fog harvesting systems in South and Central America, the Middle East and North Africa.