17 May 2018

Morocco: The Art of Catching Fog

Growing up on Mount Boutmezguida in southwest Morocco on the edge of the Sahara desert, Khadija Ghouate never imagined that the fog enveloping the nearby peaks would change her life.

For hours every day and often before sunrise, Ghouate and other women from nearby villages would walk 5 km (3 miles) to fetch water from open wells, with girls pulled out of school to help and at risk of violence on the lonely treks.

But with groundwater levels dropping due to overuse, drought and climate change, the challenge to get enough water daily was becoming harder, and almost half of people in the local area sold up and quit rural life after generations for the city.

As the future of the traditional Berber region by Mount Boutmezguida floundered, a mathematician whose family came from the area had a eureka moment gleaned from living overseas - using fog to make water.

Now Ghouate's village is connected to the world's largest functioning fog collection project, alleviating the need to collect water that fell mainly on women, and with state-of-the-art equipment setting an example for other projects globally.

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