Only about 0.007 per cent of the planet’s water is available for human consumption, with the vast majority of water – in frozen glaciers or seawater – of no use for drinking, cooking, bathing or cleaning. Furthermore, the scarcity of freshwater is exacerbated by polluted rivers, lakes and groundwater, and the depletion of these water sources in many populated areas.
While managing water consumption is essential, it is also necessary to find alternative ways to source freshwater in a manner that does not damage the environment. Expo 2020 Dubai’s innovation and partnership programme Expo Live selected Dar Si Hmad, a Morocco-based NGO, as one of its 140 Global Innovators, for its novel solution that harvest water from desert fog. The NGO has implemented a 1,700m2 moisture-capturing net that collects clean drinking water from fog. This water is then supplied to 16 villages in the Anti-Atlas in southwestern Morocco. The system means that villagers who previously had to walk up to three-and-a-half hours per day to fetch water – many of them school-age girls – can now pursue work or education.
This sustainable and reliable source of water not only reduces scarcity and the potential for contamination, but also improves access and therefore quality of life. The more exposure this innovation receives through Expo Live , the more this practice of water-sourcing can be implemented around the world where there is a similar climate to southwestern Morocco. It could consequently change the lives of many of the 263 million people globally who spend more than 30 minutes per day obtaining water.
Dar Si Hmad is a women-led enterprise, a particular point of pride for Expo Live, which encourages female entrepreneurship, with more than one third of its Global Innovators led by female entrepreneurs.
The Expo 2020 Dubai Innovation Series is a weekly blog series highlighting some of the creative and world-changing innovations that are being showcased via Expo 2020 Dubai’s programmes and pavilions.
The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organisation in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.