A New Way of Collecting Water by Fog Harvesting

fog harvesting

A New Way of Collecting Water by Fog Harvesting

New technology has people looking up at the sky to find water, but not from rain. Fog harvesting is the latest method of collecting water from fog as a way of providing water to areas that need it. In this article, learn how fog harvesting works and its importance.

 

What Is Fog Harvesting & How Does It Work? 

Fog harvesting is a simple way of collecting water droplets from fog to provide fresh water for nearby communities. It is especially useful in coastal or mountainous regions. The process mimics desert plants with little outgrowths that can trap moist air. Fog harvesting is simply harnessing nature’s water solution.

 

The Steps Involved in Collecting Fog Water

Fog harvesting is achieved in 4 main steps:

(1) Capturing Fog

Fog is captured using mesh nets between two poles perpendicular to the wind. Wind forces the fog through these mesh nets.

(2) Forming Droplets 

Water droplets in the fog cling to the mesh and get bigger as more fog is pushed through. As the droplets grow, they become too heavy to adhere to the mesh and drop into a pipe system.

(3) Filtration 

The fog water passes through UV filtering, sand and cartridge filters. Aside from this filtering, the fog water usually does not need to be treated as it is pure water, free from contaminants and pollutants.

(4) Collection 

Water from the fog is collected in storage tanks, ready for distribution to communities. This water can be used for different things like drinking and irrigation. 

fog diagram

Water fog collection mechanism 

 

Advantages & Disadvantages of Fog Harvesting 

Advantages  Disadvantages 
Doesn’t need energy to function (next to no carbon footprint) Harsh weather can damage the system
Water is normally pure  Fog pollution in urban areas can affect water quality 
Construction is relatively simple Only applicable in some areas 
Costs are much lower than other water supplies Fog can be seasonal 

 

Controlling the Quality of Water Gathered from Fog Harvesting

A quality control program is crucial to the sustainability of fog harvesting technology. This program may involve:

  • Examining mesh nets to prevent structural damage. 
  • Cleaning out dust, debris and algae from pipes and containers to stop the growth of microorganisms.
  • Water quality monitoring (e.g. drinking water tests) for fog harvesting systems near to urban areas. This is important as these areas can generate high amounts of emissions or air pollutants, which may end up in the fog. 

 

Case Study of Fog Harvesting in Morocco 

Morocco sits well below the international water poverty line. Climate change-induced droughts push men to migrate for work, leaving women and children to make up the majority of village residents. Before the fog collection project, women could spend 3+ hours/day retrieving water from distant, depleted wells. Water scarcity has forced many people to move away from the remote Moroccan city of Ait Baamrane, on the edge of the Sahara Desert.

That’s where the fog collection project Dar Si Hmad (DSH) stepped in. DSH is a women-led NGO in Morocco that designed and installed what is now the world’s largest fog water harvesting system. As a result of the system, there is less degradation of the natural environment and fewer water-borne diseases. Women also no longer have to walk over 3 hours a day to collect water and families are able to grow vegetables. 

As the founder of DSH, Jamila Bargach, says:

“All of a sudden, the people in Ait Baamrane no longer have water anxiety, and they have hours back in their days. The project has also brought attention to a region where people felt like they weren’t getting heard or that their voices didn’t count. Their dignity has been restored.”

 

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