Last Wednesday the 22nd of March, the UN celebrated the World Water day. Many take drinking water for granted, but there are still 1.8 billion people in the world who use a source of drinking water that puts them at risk of getting deadly sick. In the driest and poorest regions of the world, women and girls walk for hours in the blistering heat to collect water for their families –withholding them from studying or working. Addressing the drinking water crisis of those regions can solve many problems at once.
Easier said that done, you think. True, but we are one step closer to a solution with the CloudFisher technology that resulted from research by the German Water Foundation. Volunteer Peter Trautwein developed a simple and easy-to-maintain system that collects water droplets from fog blown through a net. Sounds too good to be true, right?
In fact, many dry-struck areas in Africa, Asia, and South-America, especially mountainous areas, don’t have a lot of water in the soil, but there’s plenty in the air. It is here that the CloudFisher can collect up to 14 liters of water per square meter. With their model in the Moroccan Antiatlas Mountains, which has an area of about 1600 square meters, they provide the 800 residents of a nearby village with up to 36 000 liters of water per day. That’s a LOT.
Now you are probably wondering how the CloudFisher works. It’s all in the name: droplets form when fog blows through a mesh of monofilaments, drip down and are collected. The mesh ‘fishes’ the water from the air. This kind of systems existed before, in fact the German Water Foundation installed some of them in Eritrea and other locations in Africa years ago. But they all had one big problem: the nets broke down during heavy winds. The CloudFisher has been designed with this in mind and can withstand wind speeds up to 120 km/h. The materials used are easily replaceable and you only need two different tools to make repairs. Dead simple.
The project has not gone unnoticed. Last year, it received the Momentum for Change Award during COP22 in Marrakech. Big challenge, simple solution. That’s how I like it :)