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Home > Different Processes Used In Different Countries > Fog Harvesting in Chile

Fog Harvesting in Chile

A safe, economical and low-tech solution for addressing freshwater shortages in various regions is through the implementation of the fog harvesting method. A highly suitable technique for increasing water yield in arid and semi-arid zones, fog harvesting method is especially applied in the coastal desert communities of Peru and Chile where there is a visible dearth of natural watercourses due to low rainfall.

However, these dry areas of Peru and Chile witness special atmospheric conditions, which facilitate good quality water production through the alternative method of fog harvesting. Here, clouds settling on the Andean slopes frequently produce thick fogs called camanchacas. Camanchacas that touch the land surface can be milked or harvested using simple fog collectors, which helps in generating high volumes of water for commercial, industrial, agricultural, and environmental applications. At present, this harvesting technology is implemented in several regions of Chile, including El Toro, Los Nidos, Cerro Moreno, Travesía, San Jorge, and Pan de Azúcar.

Fog Harvesting – The Technology

Fog harvesting technology though unconventional is a very simple method. In this process, massive vertical shade nets (flat & rectangular) of nylon or polypropylene mesh are erected in high-lying areas located near communities that has a low supply of freshwater. These erected mesh nets stretch between two poles that stand perpendicular to the prevailing flow of the clouds. Fog blowing through these structures capture tiny droplets of water that coalesce and become larger, eventually flowing down along a plastic conduit to receptacles or gutters at the bottom of the structure. Collected water in the receptacles is then channeled into reservoirs, from where it is supplied to individual homes for multiple end uses.

Advantages of Fog Harvesting Technology

Level of investment is very low in this technology, as the method is highly inexpensive in terms of installation, operation and maintenance.
It is also environmentally friendly, having no significant impact on the environmental resources.

Disadvantages of Fog Harvesting Technology
  • The method is not suitable for large-scale applications
  • The method also calls for a specific combination of climatic and topographical conditions for best results
  • The availability of installation sites for fog harvesting is somewhat limited
  • Harvesting structures are massive and hence may be visually invasive at times.

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