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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Water out of thin air
Article Type: Food facts From: Nutrition & Food Science, Volume 41, Issue 3
In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, people are forced to travel long distances and spend hours at a time collecting the water needed for cooking and drinking from far away streams or wells. But the residents of Cabazane, South Africa have found a much less labor-intensive alternative. They use gravity and let water come to them.
With the help of a team of scientists lead by Jana Olivier from the University of South Africa’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Studies, featured on AlterNet last month, the residents of Cabazane are using nets strung up across a nearby mountain pass to harvest water from the air. Built at an altitude of 1,600 meters, steel cables held by wood posts support the two layers of shade cloth nets used to catch tiny droplets of water from the passing mountain fog near Brooks Nek Pass. The drops of water create run-off that is caught in gutters built at the bottom of the nets. This water is then carried by tubes down the side of the mountain and to the village. With each square meter of netting providing up to 5 liters of water per day, Cabazane can collect hundreds of liters on a good day.