Fishing clouds in Tanzania

Water is life. The statistics alone show that these are not empty words: Diseases caused by contaminated water are responsible for more deaths than all forms of violence – including war. 
According to the United Nations (UN), 771 million people worldwide are without safe access to clean drinking water. And almost one in two of them lack access to any drinking water infrastructure. But water supply is one thing, hygiene is another: An incredible 3.6 billion people do not have assured access to sanitation, with around half of them without access even to basic sanitary provision.
Tanzania's cloudfishers

Hamburg-based non-profit organization Viva con Agua supports WASH projects with the vision: “Water for all – All for water”. WASH stands for water, sanitation and hygiene – everyone should have access to clean drinking water, hygiene facilities and basic sanitation. GEA is exclusively supporting a WASH project to supply water to schools in Tanzania, East Africa, over the next three years. Viva con Agua received a donation of EUR 250,000 for this project in late 2022. In addition, GEA employees, especially in the field of environmental protection, will contribute their expert knowledge to the project by joining forces with the Viva con Agua teams.

The project is located in Babati in the Manyara region near Mount Kilimanjaro at an altitude of about 2,000 meters. The climate is temperate with dry winters and warm summers. Since well construction is virtually impossible in this area, Viva con Agua uses rainwater collection as well as a special technology for water harvesting that is as simple as it is ingenious: So called “fog nets” capture and store moisture from the air. Made from special three-dimensional textile fabric, the low-maintenance nets can draw up to 1,000 liters from the air on a misty day. In areas where groundwater is in short supply, this method can ensure a sustainable water supply.

Measurements in Babati promise a yield of 51 cubic meters per year from a 54-square-meter fog net, collecting water at a rate of 300 to 600 liters per misty day. The highest yield is obtained during the dry season when it is misty. This makes it the most technically advanced, high-yield fog net system in the world. The water is channeled into 10,000-liter cisterns.

1,000 liters

Made from special three-dimensional textile fabric, the low-maintenance nets can draw up to 1,000 liters of water from the air on a misty day.

4,000 children

A total of around 4,000 children and – indirectly – 25,000 inhabitants of the surrounding communities are reached.

Providing drinking water to 1,000 school children

Starting in the fall of 2023, the fog nets, which have a lifespan of around ten years and cost between EUR 5,000 and EUR 10,000 each, will supply drinking water to 1,000 children at three schools in the town of Manyara. Schools in the Babati district are not connected to the public water supply. The situation in the region is representative of much of rural Tanzania. A good half of the population has no access to clean drinking water and more than three-quarters do not even have basic sanitation. The bulk of the water supply comes from rainwater, since there are two rainy seasons – one in the spring and one in late fall. Viva con Agua devised the collection systems used to gather rainwater from the school roofs. 

Viva con Agua devised the collection systems used to gather rainwater from the school roofs. These supply clean water to another ten schools, a vocational training center and the local hospital. A total of around 4,000 children and – indirectly – 25,000 inhabitants of the surrounding communities are reached.

But the efforts do not stop there. Viva con Agua is looking to expand this project to reach three more schools and their neighboring communities using this technology. The overall package also includes three cisterns each holding 50,000 liters of rainwater, six sanitation systems and 30 ceramic water filters for schools. To develop local capabilities, the project additionally comprises operations and maintenance training as well as hygiene education.

Net - Tanzania project

Project expansion with GEA assistance

In consultation with local experts, government and school authorities and the GEA team involved, a preliminary analysis will be carried out to select further schools that have the specific climatic conditions required to use a fog net technology. Given GEA’s technological expertise and based on the country’s capacities, Viva con Agua welcomes the cooperation with GEA’s team on the ground as well as their support in assessing and recommending appropriate technologies. The overarching challenges of procuring and securing equipment and materials are best addressed by pooling ideas. This has proven a successful approach in past projects – and this time should be no different. In any case, as regards ensuring a sustainable water supply with little technical effort, the project in Tanzania’s Manyara region is highly promising.

Sustainability at GEA - Project in Tansania


Sustainability Report 2022

GEA informs its investors, customers, employees as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and all other stakeholders on the implementation of sustainability in the company’s strategy regarding ecology and social responsibility in its latest sustainability report.
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