Spain draws water from fog to combat drought

by Lorraine Williamson
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LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA – Fog traps in the Canary Islands do not require energy to collect water. The European project ‘Life Fogs’ aims to combat drought and realise reforestation projects with water droplets collected from the fog. 

Individual fog traps are installed at each tree. According to RTVE.es, these are cheap and efficient options for getting water without consuming energy. The hollow tubes with a reservoir on the bottom over which plastic mesh is stretched are placed in the wind stream. 

Reforestation 

The challenge of the project is to collect 215,000 litres of fog and dew water per year. The aim is to replant 35 hectares that have been burned and are at high risk of desertification with 20,000 laurel trees. Furthermore, the project could restore the laurel forest in Doramas Rural Park. Currently, there is a danger of desertification there. 

Reforestation is carried out with species endemic to the Canary Islands and also typical of the laurel forest. Therefore, the ultimate goal is that this new planting with the fog catchers can survive for a year and a half without irrigation. 

Since April of this year, 54,000 litres of water have already been extracted from Gran Canaria in the Cueva Corcho area. Subsequently, that water has been used to irrigate nearly 3,000 new trees. 

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Fog and wind needed 

The water descends from the mist collectors into the tanks. Therefore, it is a system that can work in many parts of Spain if the place where they are deployed meets several conditions. Moreover, the main conditions are that there is wind and fog. 

Related post: Spain could turn into a desert landscape this century 

“Due to the action of the wind, the micro-droplets hit the mesh, where they get stuck and gravity waters the plant,” explains Saúl Cabrera, technician of the Life Nieblas project. The data shows that the soil of the plant with the mesh is moister than without. In addition, drip irrigation is also carried out to make dry areas green. 

If successful, the project will go to other countries 

The Life Fogs project is funded by the European Union and the Canary Islands Regional Government. The intention is to export this idea to other countries that are also fighting against climate change and forest fires. 

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