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Fog collectors net scarce water in Kenya, but face a cloudy future

Ilmasin primary school, in the Ngong hills south of Nairobi, is outfitted with fog collectors, contraptions of huge metal and wooden poles that hold mesh-patterned nets. These trap fog droplets,

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which trickle into holding tanks.

The project, set up by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, aims to test the viability of harvesting fog to help provide a safe and reliable source of water in water-scarce areas. But the results have been mixed, not least because keeping the collectors up and working has proved a challenge.

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Bancy Mati, a soil and water engineering professor at the university, says fog collection is one of the cheapest and most environmentally friendly ways of collecting clean water.

She launched the Kenya collector after a similar project, set up by a German nongovernmental organisation, ran successfully in Tanzania. The region around the Ngong hills is a great place to collect water, she said, since it sees fog both in the early morning and throughout the night.

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