Conference PaperPDF Available

Operational fog collection and its role in environmental education and social reintegration: A case study in Colombia

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Experimental efforts with fog collection in Colombia began eight years ago, and in recent papers we have suggested the implementation of operational fog collection as an alternative to meet water requirements in rural areas of the Andes Mountain Range. Since then, an increasing number of individuals from academia and environmental organizations in the country have shown a remarkable interest on this appropriate technology, and some started its exploration in a larger scale. In this work we describe the implementation process of the first operational fog collection project in Colombia and discuss its role in rural water supply, in environmental education issues and in the process of "social reintegration" of people who have been victims of forced displacement. Both the fog collection evaluation stage and construction and administration of the operational system involved the participation of the community of a rural village. The study zone, located in the Andes Mountains of the Valle del Cauca Department and with altitudes ranging from 2600 to 2800 meters a.s.l., has serious limitations in water availability. Eight standard fog collectors (SFC) were implemented and used during the period May/2008 - Feb/2009 in order to assess the water yield from fog. The best average monthly collection rate in the period of study was around 2.0 l.m-2.day-1. The constructed large fog collector (LFC), with a vertical collection surface of 25 m2, and the associated hydraulic system are currently managed and administered by the village inhabitants. The fog harvesting system benefits a rural school, and the water is mainly used in small-scale irrigation activities for horticultural crops and livestock development. The project has also brought positive impacts in the community organization, mainly comprising people who have been forced out of their rural homes by the country's nearly half-century old armed conflict. The system also allows agriculture- and environment-related issues to be incorporated in children's current education. We highly recommend exploring this technology in the search for solutions of water and food security for victims of forced displacement in Colombia. Additional efforts to increase the number of LFCs in the study zone are underway.
Content may be subject to copyright.
BACKGROUND
(Molina and Escobar, 2008)
Hydrological droughts occur naturally in some regions of the Colombian watersheds, some of
them associated with large-scale climatic phenomena like El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
The associated water scarcity is aggravated by an advancing deforestation of the native highland
forests. In addition, water pollution restricts in some cases the use of water sources.
Both climate phenomena and human-induced events have negative consequences in terms of
water availability in rural areas, both for human consumption and for agricultural purposes.
Low water availability in mountainous zones of the Colombian Andes could be managed partially
by means of water from fog collection.
FOG COLLECTION (using SFCs) IN COLOMBIA
STUDY REGION AT BUGA (VALLE DEL CAUCA), COLOMBIA
We describe the implementation process of the first operational fog collection project in Colombia and discuss its role in ruralwater supply, in environmental education issues and in the process of “social reintegration” of people who have been victims of forced displacement. Both the fog collection evaluation stage and
construction and administration of the operational system involved the participation of the community of a rural village. Eight standard fog collectors (SFC) were implemented and used during the period May/2008 - Feb/2009 in order to assess the water yield from fog. The best average monthly collection rate in the period
of study was around 2.0 l.m-2.day-1. The fog collection system benefits a rural school, and the water is mainly used in small-scale irrigation activities for horticultural crops and livestock development. The project has also brought positive impacts in the community organization, and allows agriculture- and environment-
related issues to be incorporated in children’s current education. Additional efforts to increase the number of LFCs in the study zone are underway.
Acknowledgements:Parti al funding for this project by Corporacion Autonoma Regional del Valle del Cauca and GAIACOL under contract ID105-2007 is gratefully acknowledged.
(1) jaisamar_03@hotmail.com (2) jmmolina@engr.colostate.edu
FINAL REMARKS & FUTURE WORK
Fog collection at a large-scale started successfully in Colombia, and results encourage several
individuals and agencies to replicate this experience at new sites
Fog collection plays an important role in social reintegration of people who have been victims of
forced displacement in Colombia, helps to eradicate poverty by increasing food and water security,
provide access to clean water, protects the environment and support economic development
Additional efforts to increase the number of LFCs in the study zone are underway, and at the same
time, new experiments with SFCs started at new locations
REFERENCES
Molina J.M. and C.M. Escobar (2008), Fog collection variability in the Andean Mountain Range of
southern Colombia. DIE ERDE 139 (1-2), 127 -140
Schemenauer, R.S. and P. Cereceda (1994a), Fog collection’s role in water planning for developing
countries. Natural Resources Forum 18, 91-100
Schemenauer, R.S. and P. Cereceda (1994b), A proposed standard fog collector for use in high
elevation regions. Journal of Applied Meteorology 33 (11), 1313 - 1322
Operational fog collection and its role in environmental education and social reintegration:
A case study in Colombia
Concepcion Escobar(1), Andres Lopez, Hector Aristizabal, Jose M. Molina(2)
Location N W Altitude Period of study Fog + rain collection Fog only collection
(m.a.s.l.) (l/m2.d) (l/m2.d)
Roldanillo 4o 27' 76o 27' 1820 Nov/200 3 - Feb/2005 5.3 (1) 5.0 (2)
Kilometro 18 3o 31' 76o 37' 20 20 Mar/2005 - Oct/2005 6.3(1) N.A.
Buga 4o 03' 76o 07' 260 0 May/2008 -Feb/20 09 1.9(1) 1.0 (2)
Atuncela 3o 44' 76o 41' 121 0 Feb/2010 - up to date 1.1(1) N.A.
(1) Values correspond to daily average rates of Fog + Rain over the month with the best water yield
(2) Values correspond to daily average rates of Fog only over the month with the best water yield
May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Collection rate (l.m-2.d-1)
Monthly average Fog + Rain
May-Feb average Fog + Rain
EXPERIMENT IMPLEMENTATION AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Characteristics of the site
Rural zone in the Andes Mountain Range,
with villagers comprising people who have
been victims of forced displacement
Altitudes ranging from 2600 to 2800 m. a.s.l.
Climate is bimodal and semiarid (annual
mean rainfall ~ 550 mm), and affected by
large-scale climate oscillations
Livestock and small-scale agriculture
(horticultural crops) carried out at farm
Water scarcity limits economic development
Fog collection experiment
SFC (Schemenauer and Cereceda (1994a,
1994b)) used to test water collection from
fog. Six SFCs implemented at different sites
The period of analysis of fog and rain
collection is May/2008 – Feb/2009
Local materials used to construct SFCs
(Molina and Escobar, 2008)
Community Involvement
Villagers were hired to construct SFCs.
They were also instructed to take field
measurements
A community organization is created for
planning construction and management of
the future operational fog collection project
OPERATIONAL FOG COLLECTION PROJECT
Construction
A 25 m2net, polypropylene mesh
(35%), is implemented in the ridgeline,
close to a rural school
The water collection and hydraulic
systems are built by the village
inhabitants. Volunteering is a key aspect
of the community involvement. Local
materials are used
Use of water
The fog collection system benefits the
rural school, and the water is mainly
used in small-scale irrigation activities
for horticultural crops and livestock
development . A low-volume, high-
frequency irrigation system was
implemented for efficient use of water
Social reintegration
The project has brought positive impacts in the
community organization. The experience has become
a model to be replicated in neighboring places
Environmental Education
The operational project supports children’s education
in environmental issues (water cycle, water supply,
sustainable development, meteorology, etc.)
The children’s instruction in the economic
development of the region is increased by using best
and sustainable practices
Food and water security
As the water availability increases, the project brings
new economic inputs to the community.
FOG COLLECTION VARIABILITY & IRRIGATION SYSTEM
Box and Whiskers
The line dividing the box represents
the median.
The top (75% quartile) and bottom
(25% quartile) of the box encompass
the interquartile range (IQR)
Whiskers span the 5% and 95%
quartiles.
The span of the IQR and whiskers
represents the underlying monthly fog
collection variability
FOGDEW
2010-67
... For example, in Chile, the northern part of the western coast is covered by fog almost every day [19,30]. In Colombia, the respective period is 210 days [31], in Peru 210 days [32], in Spain 142 days [33] and in Eritrea 166 days per year. These massive fog occurrences in the mountain ranges for extensive periods have encouraged these countries to consider fog as an alternative water source, using fog collection technology to address their shortage of water. ...
Article
Full-text available
Fog is a potential source of water that could be exploited using the innovative technology of fog collection. Naturally, the potential of fog has proven its significance in cloud forests that are thriving from fog interception. Historically, the remains of artificial structures in different countries prove that fog has been collected as an alternative and/or supplementary water source. In the beginning of the 19th century, fog collection was investigated as a potential natural resource. After the mid-1980s, following success in Chile, fog-water collection commenced in a number of developing countries. Most of these countries are located in arid and semi-arid regions with topographic and climatic conditions that favour fog-water collection. This paper reviews the technology of fog collection with initial background information on natural fog collection and its historical development. It reviews the climatic and topographic features that dictate fog formation (mainly advection and orographic) and the innovative technology to collect it, focusing on the amount collected, the quality of fog water, and the impact of the technology on the livelihoods of beneficiary communities. By and large, the technology described is simple, cost-effective, and energy-free. However, fog-water collection has disadvantages in that it is seasonal, localised, and the technology needs continual maintenance. Based on the experience in several countries, the sustainability of the technology could be guaranteed if technical, economic, social, and management factors are addressed during its planning and implementation.
... The daily water output varies at all sites, and at this location, the LFCs on some days produced over 100 000 l of water, and on other days none or very little. Existing fog collection projects are producing average quantities in the dry season of 6300 l day -1 at Tojquia in Guatemala from 1400 m 2 of collecting surface (4.5 l m -2 day -1 , Rosato et al. 2010), viable amounts in South Africa (van Heerden et al. 2010), Peru (Tiedemann and Lummerich 2010) and in Colombia (Escobar et al. 2010). In Europe, Valiente et al. (2010) discuss an application in eastern Spain where the 2007 annual fog flux, measured with a cylindrical collector, was 3.3 l m -2 day -1 . ...
Article
Full-text available
The collection of fog water is a simple and sustainable technology to obtain fresh water for afforestation, gardening, and as a drinking water source for human and animal consumption. In regions where fresh water is sparse and fog frequently occurs, it is feasible to set up a passive mesh system for fog water collection. The mesh is directly exposed to the atmosphere, and the foggy air is pushed through the mesh by the wind. Fog droplets are deposited on the mesh, combine to form larger droplets, and run down passing into a storage tank. Fog water collection rates vary dramatically from site to site but yearly averages from 3 to 10 l m(-2) of mesh per day are typical of operational projects. The scope of this article is to review fog collection projects worldwide, to analyze factors of success, and to evaluate the prospects of this technology.
Article
Removing drops from an air flow can be challenging, particularly, for small drops. Herein a method for demisting is presented that employs ultrasonics to force small drops to combine. Specifically, a cylindrical ultrasonic standing wave field is established in a tube, forming pressure nodes that take the form of cylinders located within the tube and having the same axis as the tube. Droplets are driven toward these pressure nodes by the acoustic radiation force, forcing smaller drops to combine to form larger drops, which eventually fall due to gravity, thereby demisting the flow. Experiments presented herein show that, for the setup employed, this method can remove a fraction of drops that approaches 0.8 and that the improvement due to ultrasonics, compared to the case without ultrasonics, is as large as 2.8. The effect of air flow rate and power is investigated.
Article
Knowing that the fog harvesting is a non-conventional method for the production of freshwater, the sustainability of a fog collection project is studied. Sustainability and feasibility of fog harvesting collection projects is the focus of this Paper. A sustainable operation of fog harvesting projects which provides numerous sites worldwide with sufficient amounts of fresh water worldwide is presented. The key characteristics of fog harvesting system are considered including the physical process; the fog collectors; and the mesh types. Sustainability aspects of fog collection projects are investigated including fog water quantity and quality. The feasibility of fog harvesting collection projects is evaluated, compared with other sources for freshwater supply including the corresponding infrastructure; the cost of water; the operational costs; and the amortization periods for expenses. The vision of implementing a fog collection project including the decision-making criteria is presented as a logical process. The community involvement analysis and the social impact are analyzed in the light of the existing freshwater resources and needs. The most important environmental factors that affect the volume and the frequency of water are evaluated. The Paper concludes that prior to implementing a fog water harvesting program; a pilot-scale assessment of the collection system should be executed.
Article
Full-text available
The spatial and temporal fog collection variability and the potential use of fog as an alternative source of water supply were evaluated in southern Colombia by means of fog collection experiments. Twelve Standard Fog Collectors (SFC) were installed in a mountainous zone, based on topographic and fog formation conditions. Different shade coefficients were evaluated, ranging from 1,680 to 1,850 m a.s.l. Results indicate a high potential for the use of fog to meet water requirements in rural areas. Data collection and analyses covered both dry and rainy seasons. Annual average collection rates amounted to 4.2 l per m2 per day for precipitation + fog, and 3.3 l per m2 per day for fog only. The most important month for collection was June with 5.3 l per m2 per day for precipitation + fog, and 5.0 l per m2 per day for fog only in dry days.