All posts by Tony

New Volunteer Staff

FogQuest work is carried out by volunteers, with no salaries. A number of people contribute many hours of their time and often contribute significantly financially as well. It is a challenge keeping a small charity operational for 15 years as we have done. What success we have had is in very large part due to our volunteers and to our supporters.

Harry Makepeace in Ontario Canada has been in charge of our shipments of mesh to all parts of the world for some time now. His help and expertise is often not visible to people who request and receive mesh for their fog collectors but it is an essential part of what we do.

Nicolas Zanetta from Chile is a young man with experience using fog collectors at the Atacama Desert Centre. FogQuest built a large fog collector there a number of years ago with help from a Rotary group in Canada. FogQuest of course has a long history of working at different projects in Chile. Nicolas will be travelling to our project in the Guatemala highlands in August to review the project there.

Drought in California

American readers of this site will be very aware of the lack of water at present for both the urban areas and for agriculture in California. As a result of this we get many questions about whether the collection of fog water may be a solution or partial solution to the water problems. In fact, it can be a valuable source of water in selected locations along the California coast; however, it will not be the answer to water shortages experienced in cities or for the immense agricultural areas in the interior valleys.

We answer questions as best we can, provide advice on using the small Standard Fog Collector to evaluate fog collection at specific locations, and send out mesh so people can build their own SFCs on their properties. Below in this section is an article about how Chris Fogliatti in the San Francisco Bay Area is working with several groups to make measurements with SFCs. We have also had a long-standing relationship with Prof. Daniel Fernandez in Monterey who is doing scientific studies using SFCs.

7th International Conference on Fog, Fog Collection and Dew

7th International Conference on Fog, Fog Collection and Dew
To be held 24 to 29 July 2016
Wroclaw, Poland

The organizing committee of the “7th International Conference on Fog, Fog Collection and Dew” has formally announced that the conference will be held at the University of Wroclaw, Poland from 24-29 July 2016.

We have attached a file with the first brochure for the conference. It contains an outline of the sessions to be held and all of the contact information and prices. We also give below the URL for the fog conference site. We encourage all of those interested in the broad themes of the conference to consider attending. You may contact the organizers directly for any additional information you might require.

FogQuest is not a sponsor of the conference nor an organizer but we have a great interest in the success of the meeting.  This conference series started in 1998 in Vancouver, Canada, followed by meetings in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada (2001), Cape Town, South Africa (2004), La Serena, Chile (2007), Münster, Germany (2010) and Yokohama, Japan (2013). Dr. Robert Schemenauer, the Executive Director of FogQuest, started the conference series 17 years ago.

The conference website is at: http://fog-conf.meteo.uni.wroc.pl/

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Latest News Update October 2014

Vollmer_Peak_West_SFCOctober 2014 – Fog Water for Coastal California : Evaluation at Tilden East Bay Regional Park, San Francisco

It is evident to those who live in California that there is fog along the coast at certain times of the year. The collection of fog by trees was noted in the late 1800s. The value of fog water for sustaining trees and other vegetation was studied in the 1900s and some measurements were made of fog collection rates. There continue to be some studies of fog collection fluxes along the coast in more recent years.

FogQuest is frequently contacted by individuals and institutions in California for our opinion on whether fog collection can be a viable water supply in select locations. Our response is cautiously positive but we emphasize that a proper evaluation using small Standard Fog Collectors (SFCs) must be done to define how much water can be collected and what the seasonality of the water collection is. Very few of these queries from individuals result in measurements that are done in a manner that might be useful in defining the resource. An exception is the initiation of a short-term study by Chris Fogliatti in recent months.

Chris built a modified SFC and some other mesh panels and installed them on Vollmer Peak in Tilden East Bay Regional Park at an elevation of 1820 feet (555 m). This is on the east side of San Francisco Bay above Berkeley. The setup is shown in the photo. At the site he chose, there was fog collection on about one day in three from late September to mid-October. The average collection rate was about 2 liters of water per square meter of mesh per day (a half a gallon per square yard) over the three week period. This is a low rate but would provide a useful source of clean water for vegetation and perhaps other uses. The results are encouraging and Chris plans to build new collectors that closely follow the design of the standard and also will relocate his collectors to potentially better sites. He has a background in environmental toxicology and is also interested in the chemistry of the fog water.

FogQuest is a small charity and Chris is operating on a low budget. If you would like to help support this work and move towards more measurements in the San Francisco area, please make a donation using the PayPal button on our website, or contact us at info@fogquest.org.

Latest News – September 2014

September 2014 – FogQuest at the Genoa Science Festival in November
FogQuest will provide a model of a large fog collector for display at the Genoa Science Festival in Italy. We will also do a live interview during the festival. This is part of the educational mandate of our charity where we provide information to the public on the benefits of this non-conventional source of water.

September 2014 – FogQuest To Begin an Evaluation Project in Honduras

In cooperation with ECOVIDA Global, who leads the project, FogQuest will initiate an evaluation project using Standard Fog Collectors (SFCs) in the central mountains of Honduras. Two of our volunteers will be in the field to install the SFCs. The project has a goal of helping 1000 Mayan villagers obtain clean water and will begin in November. An update will be posted once the project is underway.

August 2014 – FogQuest Training Session on the Construction of Fog Collectors

FogQuest has now started formal training sessions on how to construct a large fog collector (LFC). They are being done in Chile by an experienced member of the FogQuest team, Virginia Carter. Virginia has supervised construction on FogQuest projects in South and Central America as well as in Africa. The first course took place in August. This two-day course includes a detailed look at all the components of an LFC, a hands-on building experience at a site near Santiago, and a discussion of safety, site selection, and other related issues. The person being trained is responsible for his/her own travel and insurance costs as well as all material and other expenses related to the training session.

For more information, please contact us at info@fogquest.org.

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June 2014: Where there is a will, there is a way – Tojquia Update


How have the 35 Large Fog Collectors (LFCs) held up in Tojquia after another dry season? This is the question I recently sought to answer. Though we at FogQuest remain committed to our projects, we approach ongoing operation and maintenance issues with a little apprehension. The task of caring for a collector cannot rest with a development agency or charity, such as ourselves, the onus is on the beneficiaries to “take ownership” of the technology for themselves. But, many issues might prevent adequate maintenance, such as a lack of access to parts or tools, a lack of time or knowledge in undertaking these tasks. Sometimes the locals have little control over some of these issues. The one we worry most about, however, is a lack of will.

I am full of questions. Did the collectors remain functional? Has the mesh remained taut despite strong winds? Do the troughs have leaks? Ultimately, does the community continue to support this technology? Tell me everything, I inquired of one particular community leader named Lázaro. Integral to our efforts from the very first build in 2006, Lázaro serves as a broker of sorts, a community coordinator. He plays a vital role by encouraging participation and leading by example. He ensures the villagers come together to support each other with maintenance tasks.

Lázaro, a community leader in Tojquia

Specifically, he tells me the collectors are “magníficos” (magnificent) – his word! He shared with me how the collectors have provided enough water during the dry season that nearly no trips to faraway watering holes were necessary. The household tanks were almost always full of fog water, he stated. Everyone continues to be happy with the LFCs. Some nets have needed minor sewing, others trough repairs, but all of them – all 35 systems – are in good working condition. In fact, he recently got together with some neighbours to complete cable tightening (a maintenance task) on a particularly remote collector. The collector he referred to belongs to a very elderly couple who are unable to do this task for themselves.

Repairs are a team effort!
Repairs are a team effort!

In Tojquia, Fernanda and I have worked very hard to teach maintenance techniques and instill a sense of confidence in the villagers. We have insisted that they can, and should, take care of this technology so that it can last them a long time. Working in collaboration with each other, getting over differences, and finding solutions together through dialogue is the only way the community can develop. We always emphasize these points during our short field stints, but, these ideas are not so easily taught. Instead, they need to be made part of the local culture. They need to be accepted beliefs by the villagers and put into practice. Fortunately, for yet another dry season, the villagers have done just that. They have addressed the technical needs of the collectors, have done so collaboratively, and have realized the direct benefits to their families. Since the first collectors were installed in 2006, they have been cared for and are functional in Tojquia. The will persists, the way is there.

Though my calls sometimes start with a few nervous questions, I know the most unsettling one of all awaits me at the end of the conversation. When I speak with any villager, inevitably they will ask: “When will FogQuest come visit us again?” Help us continue to expand fog collection technology more widely and impact even more communities such as Tojquia. A donation to FogQuest today can make this happen.

– Melissa Rosato

Latest News – September 2013

September 2013 – New Project in Chiquisis, Guatemala

In March of this year FogQuest began the evaluation stage of a new fog collection project in Guatemala in cooperation with our local partner Vivamos Mejor (VM), a Guatemalan NGO whose executive director is Eduardo Secaira Juarez. Two volunteers went from Canada, Dr. Richard Taylor and Craig van Lankveld (see photo). They worked with staff of VM, and people in the village, to set up three Standard Fog Collectors (SFCs) and one Medium Fog Collector (MFC) (see photo).

The principal goals for the trip were to do an initial village needs assessment and to put the infrastructure in place to enable the fog collection rates to be determined. The village of Chiquisis has a population of approximately 750 people, living in 140 houses. The location chosen to erect the fog collectors is a 20 minute walk east of the village. From here, fog water could be taken by pipe into the village and should the evaluation show there is sufficient water production, the next stage would be to plan a major water supply using Large Fog Collectors (LFCs).

At present, there is one large tank (see photo) beside the MFC. The villagers only local source of water is an inconsistent spring accessed by earth trenches about a 30 minute walk uphill from the homes. The village needs assessment prepared by Craig and notes on the materials and their costs prepared by Rick are very helpful documents. The reports by VM show the measurements are now going well. Because we are in the rainy season at present, very large amounts of water are being produced by the SFCs and the MFC on days with rain, or rain and fog, and lesser amounts on days with only fog. This is as expected and so far the results for the site are positive.

We will have to continue the evaluation into the next dry season to better understand the seasonality of the water production. We will also have to spend more time with the villagers to see how they envisage a new water supply helping their community.

Your support through donations to FogQuest will help us to carry out this work.


September 2013 – FogQuest Makes Conference Proceedings Available

2007-proceedings-coverFor a number of years it has not been possible to purchase copies of the proceedings from the earlier conferences on fog and fog collection.

In response to requests from libraries, scientists and others interested in the field, we have now scanned the proceedings from the 1998 Conference in Vancouver, Canada, the 2001 Conference in St. John’s, Canada, the 2004 Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, and the 2007 Conference in La Serena, Chile.

This makes a total of over 400 excellent short papers available for easy download. Please visit our Conference page or the FogQuest Store on this website if you would like to acquire a copy of one or more of the proceedings volumes.


August 2013 – FogQuest projects featured at UNESCO Conference

Springer_CoverFogQuest´s unique integrative project approach that addresses the physical and social considerations needed for successful projects has been recognized internationally. In May 2012, FogQuest´s Fernanda Rojas presented a paper on two of our initiatives at the UNESCO Conference on Technologies for Sustainable Development held at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

Co-written with Virginia Carter and Melissa Rosato, Fog Collection Technology Transfer and Co-Creation Projects in Falda Verde, Chile and Tojquia, Guatemala (http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-00639-0_23) was chosen out of 82 submissions for inclusion as a chapter in the book: “Technologies for Sustainable Development: A Way To Reduce Poverty?” published by Springer in August 2013.

The themes of empowerment and knowledge sharing discussed in the chapter are critical for methodologies that value capacity building and sustainability. It is our hope to continue sharing our lessons learned with the wider development community in order to increase the potential for successful fog collection projects.


August 2013 – New pilot project in Nepal

sfc_1Building on the success of a two panel project at the Prathivara temple in the Ilam district, a new pilot project with a new SFC data recording system and some different structural materials will be established this October in the Tapeljung district of eastern Nepal. This project involves three partner agencies; FOST (Foundation for Sustainable Technologies) in Kathmandu will assist in the construction, Toronto based NCDF ( Nepal Community Development Foundation) is financing and developing the collector, and NCDC ( Namsaling Community Development Centre) will maintain the system and monitor the collection data.

FogQuest continues its participation in the fog collection projects in Nepal through the involvement of one of our directors, Tony Makepeace, and guidance on construction, materials and sites.

This project will feature a new and experimental method of recording the collection data. NCDF director Byron Bignell has been developing an automated data-logging system to record the volume of water collected by an SFC. The system is solar powered and uses a combination of hardware and software to record data from a tipping rain guage. The information is stored on a memory card internally for later retrieval.

The image shown on the left is an earlier SFC that was installed in 2008 in the evaluation stage for the larger system that is currently in place and operational in eastern Nepal.  We hope to build on this success and add more systems as demand and awareness increases.


May 2013 – Successful Conference in Yokohama, Japan

The conference in Yokohama was a great opportunity to renew old friendships and to discuss the latest research and news concerning fog, fog collection and dew. It was one of the smaller conferences in terms of numbers, about 120 participants from about 25 countries, but one of the most pleasant due to the constant attention received from our hosts and their volunteer staff.

Professor Manabu Igawa and his superb organizing committee did a wonderful job of seeing that we spent long hours in conference sessions while still finding time for a tour of the Japanese countryside and a relaxing banquet cruise in the Yokohama harbour. For those of you who have not experienced the strong bonds that have developed amongst those working in this specialized community, you are invited to join us at the 7th International Conference on Fog, Fog Collection and Dew in Wroclaw, Poland in 2016.

There is more information on the FogQuest Conference page.


New project – Colombia

New Project – Colombia – March 2012


Work, led by FogQuest volunteer Jose Manuel Molina, is progressing on a new operational project in Colombia. Jose Manuel and his colleagues have previously completed some initial evaluation studies. Jose’s colleagues Andres and Conchita have installed some new Standard Fog Collectors (SFCs) this month and report very good fog collection rates. Work is at and near the KM-18 site in the Valle del Cauca near Cali. The goal is to provide water for the village at KM-18 and measurements are being done by the students at the school there. FogQuest has provided mesh for the SFCs and also funds to purchase raingauges to monitor rainfall at the sites. We also provide advice and guidance through Jose to the group in Colombia and will be involved in the operational project when funding is obtained. Your donations to assist with this project would be very helpful

New Evaluation Project in India – September 2011

New Evaluation Project in India – September 2011

FogQuest is assisting an Indian NGO called SOCIOserve to begin a fog collection evaluation in the mountains of Tamil Nadu where one SFC is now in Anavattan, which is a region just on the periphery of Poombarai.

Poombarai is a small village close to Kodaikanal. It is at an elevation of about 2200 m in the center of the southern part of the Indian sub-continent. Mesh has been sent to them for the construction of the SFCs and general guidance for the measurement program has been provided.