We are donating 5% of all the membership fees we gather throughout 2018 to the Canadian non-profit FogQuest to support a drinking water project in the highlands of Guatemala. The project uses the simple but effective technology of ’fog harvesting’ to collect the abundant mountain fog of the region as fresh water for the local communities.
Based in British Colombia, Canada, FogQuest is run by retired cloud physicist Dr Bob Schemenauer. Bob’s team is a world leader in installing ‘fog harvesting systems’, and has been working with the highland communities around Tojquia, Guatemala since 2006.
Gathering fresh water from fog is nothing new. Plants have been doing it for hundreds of thousands of years, using fine structures on their leaves to snag the minuscule fog droplets and gather them into larger drops that they can drink. Fine mesh structures in the nets do exactly that same thing. In the right climate, and positioned so that upland fog blows through them, fog nets can collect sizeable quantities of fresh water which never would have fallen as rain.
35 large nets have already been installed through FogQuest by the communities of Tojquia, who live at 3300m above sea level. In total, these are collecting an average 6,300 litres (1,650 gallons) of water per day through the cold and very dry winter months. The region is not suitable for wells, and so before their installation water had to be carried by foot over considerable distances usually by the women and children.
FogQuest is a small, all-volunteer charity that spends at least 90% of donations directly on fog-water projects in developing countries. The money we’re giving them in 2018 will buy the nets, pipes and other equipment to add five new large fog collectors serving new families in the area. These will increase the nets in the scheme to 40, collecting an average of 7,200 litres (1,900 gallons) of fresh water a day in the dry winters – all without the need to consume energy.