Fog in Rossland.

Fog harvesting not recommended solution for Rossland dry season

Dr. Robert Schemenauer, an expert in fog harvesting, doesn't recommend it as a source of water for Rossland‬ during the dry season.

After last year’s dry summer and water restrictions, there have been some concerns in Rossland about maintaining reservoir levels. But Rossland’s dry season is nothing compared to desert areas in countries like Nepal and Chile, where researchers have come up with an innovative way of supplying communities with water.

Fog harvesting is the process of collecting fog in a large, vertical polyethyleen mesh net. The fog is captured in the net and drips down to the bottom where it’s captured in a trough that connects to a pipe. The pipe can lead either to a storage tank or can flow downhill to a nearby village.

It takes 10 million microscopic droplets of fog to make one drop of water “the size of a match head,” but in the right areas, a large fog collector (LFC) can collect an average of 200 litres a day.

“Each fog collector the panel on it is about 4m high by 10m long on the average will collect 200 litres a day. So some days it might collect nothing, some days it might collect 500 litres,” said Dr. Robert Schemenauer, co-founder of FogQuest.

FogQuest is a charity based out of Kamloops that constructs LFCs in communities of developing countries with seasonal or year-round dry conditions.

Schemenauer has a PhD in cloud physics and a broad background in the atmospheric sciences. He first started working on fog collecting around 1985 when he was working for Environment Canada as a research scientist.

“I was asked to go to Chile by an agency in the Canadian government called the International Development Research Centre to see whether fog might be a reliable source of water for people living in the dessert of northern Chile, which is the driest place on earth,” he explains.

Schemenauer’s work in Chile turned into a multi-year project that resulted in the development of LFCs. After her retired from Environment Canada, he went on to co-found FoqQuest, which was registered as a charity in 2000.

So far, fog collecting has only been done for research purposes in Canada. Schemenauer says fog harvesting is only recommended in places where there are no other options for accessing water.

“People are curious because they do have fog and they do have periods without rain, so people do investigations,” he says. “[But] in this country where we’re wealthy and we have access to water maybe with a little bit of effort, I don’t think it’s really going to be something that’s adapted.”

LFCs cost $1500 USD to construct, which isn’t bad considering the amount of water they produce, the low maintenance they require and their ten-year lifespan. But setting up the LFCs first requires taking the time to experiment with location and placement, which is done using 1m2 standard fog collectors. Ultimately it’s not worth the effort if there are other ready sources of water.

Schemenauer doesn’t recommend fog collecting for Rossland, as we do have other options for accessing water. That being said, fog collection is already a natural part of our water cycle.

“Fog collected by the trees, whether it’s in the summertime when it’s liquid droplets hitting and dripping off, or whether it’s fog in the winter time, it’s again liquid droplets and they freeze forming rime ice, together that source of water from fog is probably around 20 per cent of all of the water that’s available in the area around Rossland,” he says. This is known as occult precipitation.

One area in BC that may try fog harvesting is the Gulf Islands.

“Surprisingly some of those locations are extremely dry for many months of the year. They’re very rocky, so they don’t really have access to wells or ground water,” says Schemenauer.

But for Rossland, occult precipitation is probably the closest we will get to fog harvesting.

 

Just Posted

Castlegar Mayor, area residents react to referendum defeat

Chernoff says proponents did “all they could” to push for project’s approval

Area I rejects recreation complex expansion proposal: referendum defeated

Enhancement plan wins overall vote, but was lost in one polling station

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Head of ‘Yes’ campaign says RDCK money used properly in referendum

Elections BC has no problems with third parties doing educational and promotional work in a campaign

Work begins on final phase of skatepark

Volunteers needed to help plant shrubs and trees on Saturday and Sunday

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Most Read