Meet Africa’s fog harvesting pioneer

In Innovation

Kenyans living in fog-infested areas but are suffering from dire shortage of water should hope for sure relief as a permanent solution is here with us.

Fog harvesting, a technology for collecting water droplets in fog through “simple and low-cost” equipment known as fog collectors, is alive and well in Kenya after its introduction into the country some three years ago.

Pioneered by one of the country’s finest scholars, the alternative means of harvesting water for domestic use is promising Kenyans in water-scarce areas the permanent return of abundant living.

“This is because fog(or simply low-lying clouds) has the potential to provide an alternative source of fresh water, ” explains Prof Bancy Mati, director Water Research and Resource Center, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

She says that as we speak, fog harvesting is doing people in Kajiado County a lot of good since the pilot in 2013.

“Specifically, the technology has been serving, among others, Olteyani Village, Ilmasin Primary School and Kiserian in Ngong Hills”.

Going at between Sh20, 000 and Sh30, 000, the fog collectors (depending on the size of the net, fog density and wind) can harvest between 4000 and 1000 litres of water a day.

“How it works: water droplets trapped on the mesh supported by two posts rising from the ground drip into a gutter which channels the water to the storage tank, ” explains the innovator.

At the same time the accomplished expert in land use and water management also indicates that the collectors can be fabricated locally, which should relieve potential buyers from worry as they can be fixed locally.

Yet she notes the technology is only effective in areas of abundant mist and fog such as Limuru, Aberdares, Marsabit, Taita Hills , Machakos, among other mountainous zones.

A graduate of the University of Nairobi, Prof Mati’s other impactful innovation is in the field of agriculture: it is known as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a technology for growing paddy rice which uses less water, but highly increases yields.

SRI was introduced in Kenya in 2009 and  has since been adopted by farmers in Mwea, Ahero, Bunyala, West Kano and South West Kano irrigation schemes.


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