Eritrea – Asmara 2005 – Ongoing
Fog Collection Operational Project
Update July 2009
The project continues to fluctuate up and down depending on the ability to work effectively in Eritrea. On the positive side, the 10 large fog collectors (LFCs) built for Nefasit and the ten LFCs built for Arborobu were successfully installed and produced large amounts of fog water. Issue 21 of the FogQuest News has the story and pictures. A local film company produced a video on the projects and promoted the installation of many more projects in the country. On the negative side, 2008 was a difficult year for both local and international NGOs in Eritrea. Most were disbanded and forbidden to continue working. This included our partner NGO, Vision Eritrea. However, the sponsor of the project from Germany, WasserStiftung, has found a new partner in 2009 which was able to do maintenance and repairs on the LFCs at Arborobu and they reported that the LFCs were keeping the five 3000 liter storage tanks full of water. At this time the possibilities are there for future village projects in Eritrea but we are awaiting decisions from WasserStiftung as to how they feel it is appropriate to move forward
We are very pleased that this project has now moved into the operational phase. In January 2007, Virginia Carter and Juan Pablo Astaburuaga went from Chile to direct the construction of the first large fog collectors in Eritrea and the installation of the associated pipelines and water tanks. The start of the project was further delayed due to some issues related to travel permits within the country but after a working visit by Robert Schemenauer from FogQuest in Canada, in February, everything moved forward and the construction began on 10 large fog collectors to provide water for a school in Nefasit. The FogQuest team was joined and very capably assisted by Phyllis Cheung, an engineer, and volunteer from Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The school has almost 1500 elementary and secondary students and has no water available for them during the school days. The water from the LFCs will pass through a 1000 L sedimentation tank to five 3000 L plastic tanks on the school grounds. The students will have access to a tap stand with ten water taps for their use. More information about the school and the project will appear in a FogQuest Newsletter to come out shortly. It s anticipated that this project will continue to grow in these two villages, and in other villages, now that we have a large supply of mesh in the country and some of the bureaucratic and logistic issues have been resolved.
Our work in Eritrea is only possible because of the fundraising and tremendous support of the Water Foundation (WasserStiftung) based in Munich, Germany. They have a great working group and a strong network of sponsors. In Eritrea itself, the field work is carried out with the full partnership of Vision Eritrea, a large local NGO. They have been excellent to work with and we are transferring the construction knowledge to their staff. They are continuing on with the construction of 10 more LFCs for the village of Arborobu at a site we have identified as being suitable. These should be completed by May 2007.
FogQuest is working with WasserStiftung (the Water Foundation based in Munich, Germany) on a fog collection project in Eritrea near the capital city of Asmara. Eritrea is on the west side of the Red Sea and across from our previous projects inYemen. Our local partner is the NGO Haben, which has extensive experience working with local communities in Eritrea. Pablo Osses will be in Eritrea in January 2005 to position the Standard Fog Collectors (SFCs) within an area identified by Haben. At altitudes of approximately 2000 to 2500 m there is reportedly dense fog throughout much of the winter period. The communities are quite poor and clean water is a limiting factor for health and for food production. Assuming that sufficient fog water is obtained in the dry period, a project to supply water to one or more communities will begin late in 2005. If you have experience in the mountains of Eritrea and especially if you have observations of the fog conditions, we would like to hear from you as to which locations you think would be best for this or future projects.
Update February 2005
Pablo Osses spent most of January 2005 in Eritrea. The project went very well. The local partner Haben is a large Eritrean NGO. Our project sponsor, WasserStiftung in Germany, has been excellent to work with and will have a team at the field site in late February. There are now five functional SFCs in place and five more will be added this month. The public education program focuses on schools in the villages that may receive the water. This component is being handled by Haben. There appears to be frequent episodes of thick fog and, if the results of the measurements are positive, consideration is being given to the generation of water from large fog collectors by the end of 2005. In the meantime, the Eritrean staff of Haben will be in constant contact with the communities to assess their needs and level of commitment to the water projects.
Update July 2005
The evaluation of four fog collection sites in Eritrea began in January 2005. There was frequent fog through the end of March and then a significant decrease in April and early May, as expected, due to the warmer weather. Once the summer rains come, we will determine how much rain can be collected by the fog collectors and then measure the beginning of the winter dry season at the end of the year. The most productive site has been Arborobu. Seidici was also very good, followed by reasonable rates at Nefasit and Embatkala. The fog water production rate at Arborobu for the January to March period, 7.9 liters per square meter of mesh per day, was more than twice the value at Embatkala (3.6). However, when compared to other fog collection sites in the world, all the Eritrean sites are producing adequate water to justify an operational project during the winter months. At Arborobu, one large fog collector (LFC) would produce an average of 300 L of clean water per day. This is sufficient for three large families. Forty LFCs would produce about 12,000 L per day, which is enough for a village of 800 people. These positive results strongly support the use of fog collectors to provide water in remote, rural areas of Eritrea. We are currently planning a project with WasserStiftung for the end of 2005, where water supply systems using large fog collectors would be built for the above mentioned communities.
Approximate location this project.