Fog's Bounty: Harvesting Water From Fog
- Africa, Cape Verde
Who would have thought you could harvest water from fog? In Cape Verde, Peace Corps Volunteer Nathan Lee worked with community members to use this innovative technique to help provide fresh water for arid areas of the island. Join Nathan for a virtual tour of the fog collection project and the beautiful scenery of Monte Gordo National Park.
I'm Nathan Lee, Peace Corps Volunteer at Park Natural Monte Gordo on the island of São Nicolau, in Cape Verde.
Right now I'm in the park with my team working on the fog collection system. Behind me you can kind of make out the peak of Monte Gorde as the fog rolls through. And right here are our fog nets. We just put these up. There's four cells of fog net.
The fog mostly comes from my back—the direction to where my back is pointed right now—and rolls through to Monte Gorde. So, this side of the park is very green, and on the other side of Monte Gorde, it's dry and more arid—but the fog rolls through.
We constructed the nets here because there was research done in the past which suggested that the fog nets would best be placed here. But today, as you see, there is no fog here, but there's fog everywhere else. So, unfortunately, today is not a good example.
We cut poles from the forest that we took to help thin a few areas to make space for the trees to grow stronger. The nets were made in a local carpentry shop. They made them much like a screen door or screen window with Rochelle mesh inside, two layers: mahogany wood and underneath there's PVC tubing that acts as a gutter and guides the water down to the other side here, where we're working to connect a tube that will bring the water down underneath this hill, underneath the road to a filter and a storage tank beneath.
So the water will pass through the tube that I showed you there underneath the road right here. We're working to find a plumber or person to work to connect this tube down to our filter. It's a simple filter, just with cement blocks; on the inside is sand with gravel and rocks, just to filter out debris that can get caught in the filter and the tube.
From the filter here, we have a small storage tank underneath that will connect the bottom of the filter and carry the water to the smaller storage tank, and there we will have a spout where people can take the water.
And our plan right now is to let the local farmers and agricultural workers use the water to start plants before the rainy season comes. The rainy season is about to come and it's not ready so this year maybe they won't have much water. But that's the plan for the future. And if this is a success we'd like to make more fog collection nets to put for tourist areas where we can get water for drinking, and to make little gardens to have vegetables and fruits for tourists and for people here.