An expert associated with both the cloud ionisation and fog collection projects, said, “Though Salalah has good climate and greenery, the groundwater level is very low. “So, we are studying if ART can be used to increase groundwater level there. Usually, we target clouds to enhance rainfall, but in Salalah we will do fog harvesting and collect water from the process.”
The expert said that fog and dew are abundant sources of humidity “that are being harvested to produce fresh water in different parts of the world”. Fog is a form of cloud which is made of tiny droplets of water.
“Each cubic meter of fog contains .05 to .5 grams (half the weight of a paper clip) of water. Between June and September, Dhofar sees lots of fog. We are hopeful of collecting gallons of water through this process. This technology is completely different,” he said. “We usually need rain to enhance rainfall. In this case, we do not need rain. This will be the cheapest source of water.”
As part of ART, the sultanate has used the cloud ionisation method to boost rainfall since 2013. Ionisation towers have been set up at six locations in different parts of Oman to increase rainfall. These towers emit negatively charged ions which are pushed to the higher atmosphere by wind. When electrically charged droplets get introduced into a naturally occurring cloud it affects the collision probabilities, and depending on the nature of the cloud, it results in increased rain drop growth.