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Oceans from the Sky: This Fog Catcher Gives Clean Water to the Poor of Peru

Dec 05, 2016 10:34 PM EST

Ever wondered how fog can be turned into clean water? A new initiative in Coastal Peru is transforming this idea into reality through a new creation called "fog catcher." The device will be installed in far-flung areas of Lima, Peru, enabling poverty-stricken locals to have access to clean water.

One Man, One Community

The man behind the initiative is Abel Cruz, a community leader who heads the Peruvians Without Water (Peruanos Sin Agua) movement. According to Water World, by installing 1,000 fog catchers in the desert region of southern Lima, it will give locals who are living at higher altitudes access to up to 400,000 liters of water per day.

The "fog catcher" is composed of rectangular sails made up from a net typically used in plant nurseries. The structure is about 4x10 to 4x8 meters in size supported by two vertical poles. The device collects water via fog that passes through the net, which forms water droplets. The accumulated water will then be collected via a gutter that's connected to a storage tank.

Lima's Thirst for Clean Water

Lima faces a huge problem with regard to clean water. In fact, about one million people in the South American city lack access to clean, safe water. But the problem does not end there, globally, one in 10 people could not enjoy clean water.

"They couldn't see water that was right in front of them," Abel said in a interview with BBC. "Living without water is tough, this helps them even a little bit."

Abel decided to install the fog catchers after years of living without running water and waiting for the water grid from the city to be set up in their area.

Currently, the water produced from the fog catcher is not drinkable. Residents use this water for irrigation and watering crops, but Abel has plans to treat the water to make it drinkable in the future.

Teresa, a local resident, says that the innovation is like "stealing a bit of the sky."

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