Himalayan VOICES High Himalaya FORUM Himalayan Heritage  
  Collecting Fog water
Category: Water, Health and Sanitation
Source: Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH)
Location: Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH)

Water scarcity is a problem faced by many in the world today. With increasing industrialization, increasing population and climate change related abnormalities; water has become an important issue. Some researchers even foretell that war for water amongst nations may soon be a real possibility. The hill population of Nepal also suffers from inadequate water supply. People in the region struggle everyday to fetch water from great distances. Government water supply systems are not effective in these areas due to the physical location of settlements.

Realizing the need for an alternative source of water, NEWAH started implementing fog water collection schemes. NEWAH is a national level NGO established in 1992 that specializes in the field of drinking water provisions, health promotion and sanitation. NEWAH fog collectors produce between 2,000 and 5,000 ltr of water per day in the summer months. At present their projects are functioning in Ilam, Dhankuta and Taplejung districts of Eastern Nepal.
The technology is innovative and simple. Large polypropylene mesh nets are erected on ridgelines to intersect moving fog carried by the wind. Fog - composed of millions of drops of water impact the mesh, trickle into a collection trough, and then stored in a series of tanks for use at local taps. Small community based fog water collection schemes can provide enough fresh water for storage and use through the dry months of the year.
The water collected in this manner can be used for drinking and irrigation purposes. Water quality testing has found all parameters to be within WHO guidelines. The fog collection system is easy to construct and does not require energy to operate. In the hilly areas fog can be found in abundance, in some cases even more than rainwater and collecting in the above manner does not harm the environment either. However, there are certain aspects that need to be looked into. Storage of water thus collected, failure of the system due to strong winds or snowfall, limitations related to the local environmental conditions are some of the issues that need to be addressed. Fog water collection is in use in many countries, including Chile, Peru, South Africa, Yemen and the Caribbean Islands.