Saving Ngong residents through fog harvesting

Residents of Olteyani Village, Ngong Hills last week had a rare sensitization workshop organized by JKUAT and designed to empower the locals to harvest fog for drinking water. The project spearheaded by Prof. Bancy Mati, the prolific and award winning researcher brought together four thematic partners in an ambitious plan to determine the feasibility of fog harvesting as an alternative source of water in the deprived area.

Prof. Mati leads Maasai women in a dance to during the sensitization workshop

The event followed a successful pilot fog harvesting trials with commendable results at Olteyani Primary School, where fog collectors had been installed. The residents’ faces, mainly comprising old women, radiated with joy and hope as they followed the talk through a translator. To them, this was not just technology at trial phase; its success could solve the village’s long battle with water scarcity.

Pastor Daniel Lotumo, the man on whose land the fog collectors stand cogently captured the feelings of his kinsmen. “We are grateful to JKUAT and to Prof. Mati for this project. It means a lot to us. Water is life,” rendered Lotumo.
According to Prof. Mati, the research project was premised on four objectives, principally to gather scientifically verifiable data on the potential of harvested fog water for human consumption.

The three fog collectors installed at Olteyani primary School

“This would be encompassed by awareness campaign of the technology among beneficiary communities and capacity building for maximal uptake of the technology,” noted Prof. Mati.

While Prof. Mati’s initiative is the first for Kenya, the technology is not new. It is common place in Germany. Closer home, Tanzania is a beneficiary. A standard fog harvesting equipment of 40 sq. metres has the potential of generating 12,000 litres of water daily under adequate atmospheric fog.

Firsthand learning: these Maa grannies interact with fog harvesting literature at the site

The residents’ hopes were further enlivened when Pastoralists Organization for Water and Environmental Research Chief Executive officer, Eng. Njoroge reported that his organization would provide two units of the technology.
“We are honored to partner with JKUAT in poverty reduction by providing clean and safe drinking water to residents of Ngong,” noted Eng. Njoroge

Kenya Metrological Department, a key partner in the initiative equally pledged to avail requisite data, critical in fostering the research.

Prof. Mati conducts the training with the help of a translator

Fog harvesting could turn around lives of thousands of Kenyans living in the fog prevalent areas including Ngong Hills, Aberdares, Coastal region and other mountainous areas.

Several studies have classified Kenya as water scarce country, with unpredictable weather patterns and dwindling renewable water supply. The Joint Monitoring Programme’s 2012 report, for instance pegs access to safe water supplies throughout Kenya at 59%.

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