The nets supply more than 1000 pupils with drinking water.
New collectors have been set up at seven different locations.

Fog nets in Tanzania – Clean water for schoolchildren

How can drinking water be harvested from fog and dew? In areas of high atmospheric humidity, fog collectors can make a valuable contribution. So too in Tanzania. The German organisation "p(e)d world" has been setting up fog nets in the Babati highlands since 2009. And most successfully too. We have been supporting the project since 2013.

The area roughly 200 kilometres to the southwest of Mount Kilimanjaro offers ideal conditions. The climatic and topographic boundary conditions near to the major Serengeti and Tarangire national parks lend themselves perfectly to the production of drinking water from fog collectors. Every night, heavy fogs form above several salt lakes – some of them bigger than Lake Constance –  and, depending on their intensity, gradually dissipate during the early morning hours as the sun grows stronger. In addition to these salt lakes, a mountain ridge along the African continental rift stirs up thermal winds that drive the fogs across the highlands.

Bernhard Küppers and Christina Bösenberg, both founding members of the p(e)d world e.V. association, have been involved since 2008 in school projects in the district, where they became aware of the major problems with water supplies. Traditional well construction is not possible, as the settlements are located on a highland plateau at an elevation of over 2000 metres. Children – most of them girls - must walk several hours each day to fetch water, usually of inferior quality. At times it is muddy, and it must always be boiled.

Project launched following promising tests
The project was started in 2009 with the installation of small test collectors by p(e)d world at ten different locations. The results were very satisfactory, so that construction of the big fog nets could begin. Several large double collectors with a net surface area of 80 square metres each were thus set up in Qameyu and Umagi. They supply more than 600 pupils almost completely with drinking water. The peak values in Qameyu often even exceed 30 litres per square metre of fog-net surface area.

Of course, this cannot be accomplished without local support on site: Ochieng Anudo heads a small Tanzanian NGO. He takes care of the formalities with the authorities, keeps the population informed and coordinates the Tanzanian workers during net installation. Pupils and teachers are also always involved, as schools, in particular, have proven to be ideal locations: the teachers reliably record important measurement readings, carry out small repairs on the collectors and integrate the pupils into system monitoring. The water is collected in tanks at the nets from where it is ladled out and carried to the school. Different children are assigned to water supply duties every week.

Strong demand in the region
News of the success at Qameyu and Umagi spread quickly. More and more schools in Babati wanted to be included in the project. With the financial support of Munich Re Foundation, p(e)d world has been able to set up five more double collectors at three schools since the end of 2013. They supply more than 1000 pupils with drinking water. Two more fog nets have been installed in the community of Daraja la Mungo. A new experience for p(e)d world: this community is home to a population far exceeding 1000 people, some of whom live in the most basic of mud huts, distributed over an area of several square metres. In contrast to the schools, a Village Executive Officer and people appointed from the community are responsible for taking care of the nets installed here.

The p(e)d world organisers want to install the next three double collectors at larger schools at the beginning of 2015. The test sites have already been selected, also in the neighbouring communities of Tumati and Monghai. A pupil needs two to five litres of drinking water a day on average. A double collector allows approximately 100 children to be supplied with clean water. This also benefits the pupils in other ways: they have more time to learn, more time for themselves, more time to lead a responsible life.

CB, MM, 4 December 2014


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