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Turning Vapor into Drinking Water

July 3, 2024

Turning vapor into drinking water: a bizarre response to the impact of climate change? Or a stroke of genius?

https://p.dw.com/p/4gufw
Turning Vapor into Drinking Water - Catching Fog in Response to Drought
Drop by drop, the cloud catchers fish the water out of the mist.Image: HR

 It’s hoped that the cloud catchers - nets that fish water out of the air - will provide a solution to water shortages worldwide. But how does it work?

Turning Vapor into Drinking Water - Catching Fog in Response to Drought
The plan in Morocco: to supply people on the edge of the Sahara with drinking water using cloud catchers. Image: HR

Two billion people across the world lack access to clean drinking water. Whole areas are drying up, while fires are destroying forests and soil. The film portrays people on the Canary Islands in Spain and in Morocco who are meeting the specter of droughtwith innovative new projects.

Turning Vapor into Drinking Water - Catching Fog in Response to Drought
A dried-up reservoir in Spain.Image: HR

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that North Africa will lose around 50 per cent of its available surface water this century. The forecasts for Spain are similar. Studies say that 75 per cent of the country is at risk of desertification. In the south of the country, villages already rely on tanker lorries to bring them water when the pipes dry up - for months on end. Research into alternative water sources is of paramount importance, here.

Turning Vapor into Drinking Water - Catching Fog in Response to Drought
Nets that catch water droplets from passing clouds on mountains: an idea in the fight against drought.Image: HR

The European Union is funding the "Life Nieblas" project to find out more about the cloud catchers’ potential. In the north of Gran Canaria, researchers have managed to capture tens of thousands of liters of water annually from passing fogs and clouds. The water is being used to reforest a burned-out region on the Canary Island.

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