Fog catchers of Peru

  January 15, 2017

Arif Ayaz Parrey

Lima, the capital of Peru, is the world’s second largest desert city, after Cairo. The region is water–stressed. The annual rainfall is less than 4 cm. But it is not your typical desert city. Humidity can reach up to 98 per cent. Nestled in the foothills of the Andean mountains, its proximity to the Pacific Ocean ensures that the city is covered with fog for three-quarters of a year.

Abel Cruz, founder of the Peruvians Without Water movement, came up with a novel idea to trap the water in the fog, condense it and use it for various purposes like farming, cleaning, washing clothes and dishes, and even cooking.

\With this innovation, they have been able to provide water to the city’s poorest, who are the most affected by water scarcity. The organization aims to increase the use of this technique in the city and other parts of Peru.

Experts warn that Peru will be one of the countries most affected by climate change. More than 70 per cent of the world’s tropical glaciers are in Peru, but they are melting fast and might not last long. So fog catching might be a great saviour climate mitigation technique.

Can a similar technique be employed in India? Certainly in the lower-reaches of the Himalayas and the parts of the Gangetic plains where fog is thick and persistent.

How to build a fog catcher                                                         

Materials to be used                                                                             

  • Two pegs of available wood, each 20 feet long                      
  • Some PVC pipes to catch the water, about 4 inches in diameter
  • PVC tubes to connect to the tank, ½ inches in diameter
  • One water filter
  • Raffia or mesh 13 x 20 feet
  • Rope or wire
  • A tank to collect the water
  • Furthermore you need a saw, a hammer, some 3 inch nails, and a ladder.

Steps

  1. Prepare the ground. It must be a flat and firm.Build a pond or buy a tank to catch the water.
  2. Peg the wood firmly to the ground (at least one-fourth should be underground).
  3. Place them apart a little less than the length of the raffia/ mesh, so that you can wrap it around them
  4. Fix the raffia/ mesh to the stems. It should look like an advertising panel when you are finished.
  5. Place the PVC pipes under the panel so that the trapped water will drop into them and will be lead into your tank or pond.
  6. Place the water filter before the tank.

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