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Converting fog into drinkable water

It may be 2017, but over 663 million people in the world still live without nearby access to a safe water supply. For villages in Nonghet District, northern Laos, accessing clean water is an ongoing challenge.

During the wet months, families rely on local natural springs for water. However, these often run dry when there are periods of little rainfall, forcing people to walk further in search of water. This is a particular burden for children, who are often responsible for water collection, with many undertaking a two-hour return trip to fetch water each morning before school.

This is not only an exhausting task, but it is also extremely dangerous. Some springs are located in areas which are yet to be cleared of unexploded bombs. During the nine years of the Vietnam War, more than 270 million cluster munitions were dropped over Laos, earning it the unenviable title of the most bombed country per capita in the world. Almost a third of these bombs failed to detonate and remain live in the ground, threatening lives as well as hindering the development of affected communities.

To improve water access in Nonghet, ChildFund organised a collaborative brainstorm involving Global Community Youth Ambassadors and ChildFund supporters which resulted in a range of solutions being proposed. The best idea? To capture fog from the sky, and turn it into drinking water.

Following a series of online discussions and planning sessions, a consultant from Electriciens sans frontiers, a French non-government organisation, visited Nonghet to teach the Youth Ambassadors how to build and install a Fog Water Trap.

Four prototypes, made of mesh, wood, soft pipes, guttering, and plastic containers, were eventually set up. Remarkably, on the first night the Fog Water Traps collected over 50 litres of pure, drinkable fog water.

Now, Youth Ambassadors are looking at scaling up so that the Fog Water Traps can provide water for more families in Nonghet. ChildFund staff are also working with the community to develop new and more sophisticated designs for the Fog Water Traps – so that they are larger, more durable, and effective at converting fog into water.

To learn more about the development of ChildFund’s Fog Water Traps, watch the video below:

Fog Water Traps can provide water for more families in Nonghet.

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