Right on time for the international World Water Day on 22 March, our fog net project was officially opened during the inaugural ceremony at Mount Boutmezguida. Finally, fog water flows from the top of the 1,225-metre mountain into the valley, supplying four villages and a school. "It was a long road," noted Aissa Derhem, President of the Dar Si Hmad NGO, during the opening ceremony of the project near to Sidi Ifni, "but we have now reached our goal. The tanks are full and we can supply the people with drinking water."
Approximately 450 people took part in the celebrations. Speeches by the governor of the Sidi Ifni province and the deputy ambassador of the USA emphasised the achievements of the NGO and its many helpers. Roughly eight kilometres of pipelines were installed in the stone-hard mountain slopes, water tanks renewed and built and, in the last step, the supply lines connected up to the households. Until then, the villagers had to get by on roughly just eight litres of water a day, now they all have an adequate supply. The winners above all are the women who formerly had to fetch the drinking water from a remote well. However, the fog water is not free of charge. Each household connected to the supply must pay a monthly water rate of two euros and approximately € 0,40 per metric ton of water. "If the water is without value, it will be wasted," remarks Aissa Derhem. "Our fog water costs even less than the water from the wells. Now the project must be commercialised for being sustained in the long term." Maintaining the system costs money. "In the medium term, if everything goes well, we want to hand the project over to the people in the communities," says Derhem proudly.
The fog nets deliver more than one thousand litres of drinking water a day in the fog season from December to June. This is enough to supply more than 400 people and half of the demands of the region. Tanks installed on the mountainside ensure the water availability well into the dry period.
"There were repeated setbacks," Jamila Bargach, the project manageress, tells us. "Nets ripped; wind strengths of up to 100km/h can occur on the mountain. The roads were often blocked or closed. For me the breakthrough came when USAID and Munich Re Foundation promised us financial support. We then knew that we were being recognised. That gave us a boost."
Since then, a highland laboratory has been built as part of the project. Peter Trautwein, an engineer with Water Foundation Ebenhausen, is testing new net materials and sturdier net constructions. MuRe Foundation funding will help create fogs nets of a new generation that are wind resistant and will deliver substantially higher yields. "When we have consolidated the project and equipped it completely with German nets, as we call them, we can multiply the technology in Morocco and other countries," explains Aissa Derhem. "Then we can prove that a simple and innovative technology is capable of improving the living conditions of countless people in fog regions. A distant goal has come within reach on World Water Day!"
02 April 2015