4 out of 10 people in the world suffer from water shortages and every 20 second a child dies. Wordwide, vulnerable populations depend upon unsafe and expensive water from the informal market. Surprisingly, our solution was always present in the atmosphere. Fog catchers are economical, ecological, easy to install and maintain. They are sustainable and do not require energy, and they have the capacity to emancipate the vulnerable from relations of domination and thus take control over their lives.
By capturing and purifying water from fog our system provides water for human consumption, agriculture and animal husbandry for the most vulnerable.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Only 2.5% of the water on the planet is fresh, hence a shortage of safe water sources for human consumption. 4 out of 10 people in the world suffer from water shortages and every 20 second a child dies. Water scarcity hits hardest against the socioeconomically deprived, hindering their capacity to participate and become integrated in society at large. For these populations, water is often unaffordable. When accessible, it is often so through the informal market, which renders them subject to risk, insecurity, and domination by informal vendors. Under such circumstances, water scarcity also becomes a push factor for people to migrate to urban areas where they become subject to further precarity. In dry and desert-like areas, this is especially the case. As it happens, these regions are also covered with fog throughout most of the year. With the improvement and implementation of the fog catchers, communities living in these areas will be able to access this water and improve their lives.
What is your solution to this problem?
Our solution was always present in the atmosphere. Fog catchers are economical, ecological, easy to install and maintain. They are sustainable and do not require energy, hence their capacity to emancipate the vulnerable from relations of domination and thus take control over their lives.
That is why we do a satellite monitoring, an analysis of variables with our meteorological station and field work for the installation of a 24 m2 fog trap, which in its most basic version costs 100 euros.
The Fog catcher is a system of meshes, studs, gutters and fastening equipment that are placed perpendicular to the direction of the wind, which carries the micro-particles of fog, making them collide and flow through the mesh, achieving, through natural condensation, pure water, which we process and store in reservoirs throughout the year.
This system is preventing the population from paying 6.5 euros per 1000 litres of water of dubious quality, in Peru 0.45 euros are paid for
What is your latest update on your innovation?
Fog does not mix with the polluting particles in the atmosphere, as happens with rain. However, due to its low molecular weight, it does not generate water naturally. With fog catchers, placed perpendicular to the direction of the wind, we cause the water droplets to condense, pour down along the net, and accumulate. Through satellite monitoring, we analyse atmospheric variables for the installation of 24 m2 large fog catchers, which generate 200-400 liters of water each. Smartphone monitoring serves to support and give advice to the User Boards, and thus ensure maximum efficiency. As an integrated part of our model, we have also constructed a machine that produces chlorine that is tasteless and does not react with the enzymes of meats and vegetables. Nor does it dry people’s skin or irritate their eyes. It has been approved by the General Directorate of Health (Peru) and the World Health Organization, proving that it serves to provide quality water for human and nonhuman consumption.
Why are you going to win the Best Innovation for Development Award?
We have tested our model in 14 regions, transformed the lives of at least 1500 families, and thus made sure that it is efficient and works properly. Our NGO has also had experience with installations in other Latin American countries, and ensured that the system is apt for a diversity of ecosystems, regions, and communities. As a Southern organisation, what we are lacking is further international recognition and economic support to implement our idea in more communities around Peru and beyond.