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does anyone remember WA Nepal using fog catchers and why we stopped using them?

These fog catchers in Lima are featured in a BBC website video (on their news homepage). We used them several years ago in Nepal but stopped using them (I think). Does anyone know why? Just in case we get any keen supporters contacting us asking if we're using them and if not why not.

Thanks very much,


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Hi David. Vinny will know more (and the WA Nepal team) but as far as I know it was our partner NEWAH and here is an article that exposes many of the limits of the idea:

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FYI this technology was also been tried by PHED in Bhutan around 2007-2011 - I'm not sure with what results. There might be something on the MoH PHED website. John Collett

John Colett gravatar imageJohn Colett ( 2016-12-06 08:48:10 +0000 )edit

Rémi, Thanks for the thorough article. It appears to me that operational issues still have to be worked out. It sounds like the mesh technology has to get out of Canada. I wonder if there are other organizations working on an alternative mesh technology and on operational guidelines to ensure sustainability of any installation.

aidos.nando gravatar imageaidos.nando ( 2016-12-06 09:23:34 +0000 )edit

Vinny recently shared his thoughts on fog catchers during an interview for the Guardian.

The full article can be read here:

The full transcript on fog catchers is here:

Fog doesn’t generally exist in a lot of places experiencing water scarcity – that is a big reason why it isn’t widely applicable. Many areas where we work experiencing water scarcity or whereby water isn’t immediately available, are not frequently having episodes of fog, many areas. Really, with access to water, you’ll usually try to access groundwater first. We have tried fog catchers in Nepal and it was expensive, it didn’t yield much water and to get all of the bits and pieces up into these very remote communities was quite an operation. So springs or groundwater would be the preference over that. Single handpump can yield 8000+ - these don’t provide a serious amount of water. It’s only applicable to do something like that where you can’t access groundwater or decent spring water or can’t treat surface water, then I’d go for that as an option. But the issue is that it’s not widely applicable because fog doesn’t exist in a lot of the places experiencing water scarcity or where there are issues getting people water supply.

A lot of the problem isn’t that there isn’t water there, it’s just that the investment isn’t going into getting access to the water through using technologies that are over 100 years old. We’ve got the technologies to access water, this is not a technical problem, it’s a management problem, whereby the right decisions aren’t being made and the right resources aren’t be allocated to get people access, and the right resources aren’t being allocated to management to ensure that access is sustained. The water crisis is much more a management problem than a technical problem, but technology plays a role.

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