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 firstname.lastname@example.org.