Fog Catchers Bring Water to Parched Villages

For this week’s blog I thought I’d share with you something a little different. I came across an article on National Geographic’s site when I was on the Internet the other day and found it very intriguing. It’s about how fog catchers are helping villages in rural Peru, 10km outside of the capital, Lima.

This all started in 2006 when two conservationists and biologists from Germany, Kai Tiedemann and Anne Lummerich, began working with a number of small settlements on the outskirts of Lima. They run a non-profit organisation called Alimon and developed fog-catching nets to help people living in these settlements, which are nearly all located on hills which receive very little rainwater. In fact the nearby city of Lima only receives about half an inch of rainwater a year. Kai and Anne found a way to help the people in these hillside villages to get more rainwater.

From June to November, there’s a lot of really dense fog that stretches inland from the Pacific Ocean. What’s pretty amazing is that these nets, which cost just a few thousand dollars, can collect over 150 gallons of water in a single day – and that’s without a single drop of rain falling from the sky.

These nets resemble giant volleyball nets and can be as tall as 13 feet and as wide as 28 feet; they are stretched between a pair of wooden poles and work by collecting tiny droplets of water. The nets are made from plastic netting that forms a rough woven mesh. What’s great for the project is that the netting used in the fog-catchers is quite cheap and is found in practically all hardware shops in Peru. As more and more droplets are caught in the net, they begin clumping together to form larger drops, which are eventually pulled down to the ground by gravity. The water then flows down tubes into a collecting pool where all the water from the nets is kept.

I think these fog catchers are a great idea and it wouldn’t surprise me if more places got them. I don’t think there’ll be any in our country though – we get plenty of rain as it is! If you want to read more about the ingenious fog-catchers and how different people have been using them throughout history, click on the link below:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090709-fog-catchers-peru-water-missions/

It’s great when you’re killing time on the Internet and you stumble across something as interesting as this! The Internet is just full of great finds like this – you never know what you could end up reading about!

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