This project has been ongoing successfully since 2006. There are 35 large fog collectors (LFCs) that FogQuest and the villagers of Tojquia have built in the high mountains of Western Guatemala. Each of the LFCs has a surface area of 40 square meters and produces an average of about 200 L of water a day during the winter dry season.
In December 2016 Nicolas Zanetta, a FogQuest volunteer from Chile, visited the site to assess the status of the fog collectors and to meet with the villagers and members of the village water committee. This committee was established a year ago to coordinate the use of the fog collectors and to collect a small fee from the users to use in the maintenance of the fog collectors. The family income in the community is only about one dollar US a day, so the collection of funds from the community is a significant commitment.
Nicolas found that all 35 collectors were in good condition with no major problems. Eight of the collectors needed minor maintenance to their troughs or the mesh. Funding from FogQuest donors was available to buy four new water tanks each of 1000 L capacity. The tanks were installed at four homes to collect rain water during the wet season. They will be moved to receive water from fog collectors when new ones are built for the families. It was the water committee that decided which families would receive the new tanks and this was based on the work they had contributed to the project in previous years; however, the entire community had to agree to the location of the tanks before they were installed.
A major change that Nicolas noted during his visit was the greater involvement of young people in the community in the fog collection project. This is the 12th year of the project and they are gradually taking over leadership and maintenance from their parents.
Before Nicolas left Tojquia, the community organized a celebration for what was achieved during the past year, the success of the water committee fund, the new beneficiaries, and a new visit from FogQuest to the community. As Nicolas says “It was a lunch where it was possible to share a pleasant afternoon with the whole community and one which provided an opportunity to strengthen trust and commitments.”