Fog Catching is a Latin American innovation
The largest fog catching farm just opened in Morocco. With 600m2 the Sar Si Hmad project, located on the edge of the Sahara Desert, provides accessible potable water to more than 400 people in five villages. The nets, set at an altitude of 1,225 meters collect an average of 6,000 liters of water a day.
Before this the area relied on rain and well-water but this Latin American innovation has provided an environmentally friendly water source.
Fog harvesting technology consists of a single or double layer mesh net supported by two posts rising from the ground. Mesh panels can vary in size and they catch tiny fog droplets, typically 1 to 40 millionths of a meter, gathers and merges them until they have enough weight to travel down into a reservoir.
Fog catching and harvesting was inspired by ancient water practices and was devised in South America in the 1980s. The first project was developed in Chile, in the region of Chungungo after the 1986’s drought. “Project Camanchaca” was a collaboration between the Chilean and Canadian governments and is now replicated in other regions.
There are other active projects in various countries including Chile, Peru, Ghana, Eritrea, Colombia, South African and in the US, especially in California.
The people who work with the technique are known as ‘atrapanieblas’ (fog catchers). The method is both cost effective and energy efficient and in coastal areas it is useful where groundwater is too saline for most uses without treatment.
This video from Makeshift shows how the nets work in Peru:
Fog catching has become an innovative technology for mountainous communities without access to traditional sources of water. Although it continues to be in a state of development there’s been plenty of interest and work for fog harvesting.