Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2010 promoting local culture and sustainable initiatives through education and the integration of scientific ingenuity in Southwest Morocco. We operate North Africa's largest fog harvesting project, providing villages with access to potable water. Our Water School and Girls' E-Learning Programs build capacity in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Through our Ethnographic Field School, researchers and students engage with local communities in Agadir, Sidi Ifni, and the rural Aït Baamrane region for meaningful cross-cultural exchange.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The UN 2020 Water & Climate Change report summary - Chapter 7: Energy & Industry


The seventh chapter of the UN 2020 Water and Climate Change report focuses on the industry and energy sectors. These sectors withdraw 19% and 10% of the world’s freshwater resources respectively, and their combined global water demand is expected to increase to 24% by 2050. Without adaptation and mitigation measures, climate change is likely to significantly impact water-related aspects of both industries. The main challenges for corporations in these industries are water scarcity, flooding, drought, and water stress.

Water Challenges

The availability and reliability of water is key to the functioning of industry and energy businesses who depend on and work with predictability. The uncertain nature of water stress caused by climate change, however, throws a wrench in their plans. Increased water scarcity can impact supply chains, since both sectors consume a lot of water. For energy in particular, any kind of water stressor (e.g. drought, increased water temperature) can drastically affect electricity generation on a global scale.

Extreme weather events such as flooding and drought damage the physical infrastructure and human beings that make up the energy and industry sectors. Additionally, most energy and industry infrastructure exists in coastal areas, which are more vulnerable to sea-level rise and coastal erosion.

Business Risks

Risks to businesses from water-related effects manifest in operation risks, regulatory risks, and reputational risks. Other risks include fluctuations in financial markets, political stability, demographic changes, and population movement.

Operational risks concern the ability of these sectors to function. Water stress can decrease or even stop manufacturing or energy generation. Even before the production stage, these sectors’ supply chains may be affected which can disrupt or damage production equipment and infrastructure. Operational risks also may lead to unsafe working conditions, health effects, absenteeism, and lower productivity for the sectors’ workers.

Regulatory risks concern the presence or absence of climate change adaptation regulations. Although corporations will have to adjust to regulations, the biggest regulatory risk comes from a lack of regulations on water resources, which can lead to uncertain circumstances and limited supply of water. 

With many consumers, investors, and stakeholders becoming increasingly critical of corporate practices as they relate to climate change, corporations may change their behavior to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. Failure to do so may result in bad press and a poor reputation. 

Reactions and opportunities

The report acknowledges that water scarcity and climate change have been recognized by the energy and industry sector for a reasonable amount of time, and stresses that these sectors should see climate change as an opportunity. Corporate reactions to climate change have been broad and include both mitigation and adaptation measures. Corporations can be incentivized to act when thinking about the cost of action versus inaction, where inaction will likely lead to significant losses over time.

For the energy sector, an opportunity exists in lowering both greenhouse gas emissions and water use at the same time. Reducing energy demand and increasing efficiency, but it is not enough. Low-carbon renewable technology such as solar photovoltaic and wind energy are the most promising energy alternatives because they also consume relatively less water. That said, not all renewable energy sources reduce water demand, such as geothermal energy which requires cooling water.

The report also focuses on hydropower, which provides 16% of the world’s electricity and 70% of renewable power. Although hydropower consumes water, water that passes its turbines often travels downstream to be used in other ways. Hydropower, however, is dependent on sufficient water levels. Water scarce areas should think critically and assess projected water levels when considering the creation of hydropower infrastructure such as dams.

For the industry sector, an opportunity exists in decarbonizing their production processes. Some examples of process changes include using low-cost zero-carbon electricity for high-temperature electric furnaces, or switching to nuclear or hydropower. These measures would bring emissions to near zero.

Both sectors can best adapt to the water-related impacts of climate change by adopting circular water management. Instead of linear water management where water is contaminated in the production process to be discarded, circular water use treats or keeps clean water to circle back and be reused in the process.

It is important to note that technology is not a barrier to circular water management, rather regulation, financial resources, awareness, and dialogue are what is slowing the shift to this new way of managing water. Research has found that women are more likely to support circular water management and have more comprehensive approaches in water management, even but the energy sector is largely male-dominated. Research predicts that if more women had greater influence in decision-making, changes like shifts to circular water management would more likely come to fruition.

Moving forward

The report ends this chapter by stressing the energy and industry sectors will have to move away from a ‘business-as-usual’ and ‘quarterly capitalism’ mindset. Corporations will need to acknowledge the long-term risks of doing nothing to mitigate or adapt to climate change, and should instead see climate change as an opportunity to avoid unwanted costs.

Written by: Gari DeRamos, former DSH intern

Friday, November 13, 2020

Dar Si Hmad Highlights of October 2020


October is the month when activity reaches its peak for most NGOs working in the education field as new academic year kicks off. Dar Si Hmad, likewise and despite the pandemic, was so vibrant with the launching of numerous special events. Below find the list of the organisation’s highlights from October 2020.

Dar Si Hmad’s staff, consultants and interns have been coordinating to finalize the final steps for the organizing and participants’ selection for the Fall Season RISE program. This educational initiative is designed to train university students from the region of Souss Massa and the Province of Sidi Ifni on advocacy techniques for environmental issues. The first virtual class ran extremely well, putting the bar up for what to expect next.

Afous Ghissiki is another educational and developmental project Dar Si Hmad had running during October 2020. The beneficiaries from the two participating Oases are receiving agroecology and permaculture training and have expressed great  enthusiasm for the content of the program, and are now in the process of engaging into the applied section of it.

Always in the countryside, this last month, Mr. Governor of the region of Sidi Ifni paid a guided visit to our fog harvesting site to follow up on our plans of extending the project to Taloust pass. Progress is ongoing on our research and applied experimentation for a biological treatment and natural predator against the Mealybug to have invaded the Aït Baamran that is in the process of destroying thousands of acres of cactus fruit. This is a major highlight of Dar Si Hmad’s November activities.

Not far from Aït Baamrane, in the city of Sidi Ifni, our director Dr. Jamila Bargach has been shooting anthropology lessons as part of our Ethnographic Field School. These videos will soon be ready to share online with any potential student and university program in search for a unique study abroad program, this is to give a simple taste of the variety and wealth of the content. 

Additionally, we held our general assembly for the board members of Dar Si Hmad on the 21st of October. At the end of the meeting, Ms. Maria Laaouimir was appointed treasurer and Mr. Abdelmalek Benmoussa general secretary of our NGO’s board, with Dr. Aissa Derhem continuing as our president.

Last but not least, we at Dar Si Hmad’s staff were very happy as we celebrated our office’s administrative and financial manager receiving her Master’s Degree in Management Control, Auditing and Accounting from the ESCAE, Casablanca. A special event and congratulations to Ms Khadija Changa!

October was very eventful in Dar Si Hmad and November came in even with even more events. Keep on following us on our social media platforms to stay informed and do track the amazing work we do!