Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Capturing the Fog

I would really like to travel and visit the Atacama desert in the north of Chile, my Chilean apartment mates are both from Arica, the most northern city, and speak well of the desert in the north, which is also said to very closely resemble the surface of the moon (many sci-fi flicks have been filmed in this desert). Due to its geography, surrounded by the Andes mountains on one side and the Chilean Coast Range on the other, and a series of cold currents, the desert in Atacama is said to be the most arid desert in the world...with only 1mm average yearly precipitation!
No need to say that the people living there need to conserve water (perhaps buildings there have a priority to preserve water), but as it turns out there's a very cool way to deliver fresh water for these people. It consists of utilizing Camanchacas, which are dense clouds banks that form in the Atacama desert.

As a response to water scarcity, fog catchers have been installed in the desert that basically capture the moisture from the camanchacas and collect water which is of exceptional quality.

These fog catchers are very inexpensive to install, and can produce significant amounts of drinking water. Architects have got a hold of them, and are making them in all shapes and sizes... hopefully not sacrificing function over aesthetics!

They look awesome... provide water, and add to the martian theme!


  1. They look beautiful. Could be mistaken for art installations.

  2. wow, talk about ingenuity out of necessity! what beautiful technology!

  3. Not sure where you get the idea that the "fog-traps" produce such good quality water. It is frankly not true. In fact many of the traps have dust and microorganisms growing in them, and insects end up in the water was well. To me that is not such great water, though better than no water at all of course. Naturally the proponents of the fog traps wish to say only the most positive things and in Chile, well, look up the meaning of "chamullo." It means that people are bullshitting you, all the time.