Developed some twenty years ago in Chile by the Canadian NGO Fog Quest, the technique used to convert fog into drinking water has been reproduced throughout the world.
Its first use in North Africa has changed the lives of the inhabitants of five villages in the Moroccan south-west, who no longer need to travel several kilometres every day to collect some of the precious liquid.
At 1,225 metres above sea level, at the top of Boutmezguida mountain which overlooks five villages in the Sidi Ifni region, one of Morocco's most arid regions, around forty gigantic nets made from a combination of high-density polyethylene and a high-performance polymer (PES) stand strong against a dense fog. Designed to withstand winds of up to 120 km/h, they trap water droplets, which are then processed, mixed with drilled water and then transported through pipes to the villagers below.
Christened CloudFisher, this innovative project launched by Moroccan NGO Dar Si Hmad, in cooperation with WaterFoundation®, a German NGO specialising in water issues, provides an average daily amount of 6,300 litres of collected fog water to the 400 inhabitants of the five villages. The United Nations described it as being "the world's largest operational fog water collection system".
"Morocco has a lot of fog due to three phenomena: the presence of an anticyclone from the Azores , a cold maritime current and the obstacle of the mountain", explained M. Derhem, who launched this initiative. This technique "only imitates nature", he says, pointing out spider webs that have forever trapped water for sustenance. "It is environmentally-friendly and helps preserve the region's water table, which is slowly being drained", said Mr. Derhem.