Right now, I’m sitting in a café with two of my classmates, both named Emily. The two Emilys are researching for paper that we will be writing for our class on sustainability and development in Morocco, taught by Dr. Jamila Bargach. I tried for a while, but feeling stuck, was just now reflecting on the class in general when I realized that I could write about it for the blog.
The class, as I mentioned, focuses on sustainability and development in Morocco, but specifically water. Even more specifically than water, the class pays close attention to fog water, something that Jamila knows a lot about. Jamila works for the organization Dar Si Hmad, whose main project is fog water, or water collected from fog.
I know what you’re thinking. How does one harvest water from fog? I once thought the same thing, sweet reader, but it turns out that the answer is much simpler than we both thought:
It’s literally a net.
The practice is actually very old, but today, nets with three-dimensional properties have been developed to sit at the top of a mountain and wait for the fog. The wind in the mountains causes the fog to flow through the nets, and if the fog particles are big enough, they cling to the netting and drain into a gutter. The water from this gutter is mixed with groundwater for nutrients, filtered, and used in villages affected by drought.
Recently, our class visited the fog project near Sidi Ifni, where we witnessed fog collection in action. After what for me was a death-defying hike, we arrived and were able to not only see the fog collection nets, but speak with a woman who made the transition between gathering water to using fog water herself.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this class is the social affects of the fog water. The use of fog water allows women who would normally have to travel long distances to gather water several times a day to do it in a very short amount of time. Some people like this, and others don’t. This is where the situation becomes complicated and people like Jamila come in. Her expertise is in anthropology, so her research has to do with the cultural complications that come with “modernization,” a word even more complicated perhaps than the technology behind fog collection itself.
Overall, the class has been invaluable to our time here in Agadir, and as I sit watching Emily 1 and Emily 2 actually work on their papers, I can’t help but feel immensely grateful for the opportunity we have before us in Jamila’s class.