March 22nd marked the one year anniversary of the launch of Dar Si Hmad, a program that works to bring fresh water to the Aït Baâmrane tribal region of southwest Morocco. The program uses a technology called CloudFisher that harvests fog and turns it into potable water, reports The New Yorker.
Dar Si Hmad workers constructed a series of tall metal poles and black polymer nets on Mt. Boutmezguida, in the Anti-Atlas mountains, at four thousand feet of elevation. In a 24 hour period, every square yard of netting can harvest up to 17 gallons of water from the surrounding fog coming off the Atlantic Ocean.
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Having regular access to clean water means a host of benefits for these North African communities where water is a very scarce resource. Not only do they have clean water for drinking, but they can also grow more food, bath more regularly, and raise animals. Yet the biggest benefit might be that the women of the communities will no longer have to travel the typical four hours every day to gather five gallons of water (50 pounds) from a well, which they then carry back on their heads.
Some local villagers in the region have expressed concern over the fog water. They believe that because it does not pass through the ground it has no mineral content and therefore is not fit for consumption or for use in religious ceremonies. Dar Si Hmad's co-founder Jamila Bargach describes one woman in particular who was staunchly opposed to the fog water, but has since changed her mind. Bargach says:
"Her archenemy was fog. It was a state in between states. It was indeterminate and denoted too much haziness. But now it is redeemed in her mind. It is a fully standing, legitimate water source. And her granddaughters will have a different life experience than she did. They are now going regularly to school."
The need for alternative water sources in the dry and arid regions of the world continues to be imperative. The fog harvesting technology of CloudFisher could be an answer for some.
To learn about the regions of Africa where energy is as scarce as clean water, watch: How An Energy Crisis is Killing Women in Tanzania