Fog Harvesting

Fog Collection

The organised collection of dew or condensation through natural or assisted processes is an ancient practice, from the small-scale drinking of pools of condensation collected in plant stems (still practised today by survivalists), to large-scale natural irrigation without rain falling, such as in the Atacama and Namib desert. Several man-made devices such as antique stone piles in the Ukraine, medieval "dew ponds" in southern England or volcanic stone covers on the fields of Lanzarote have all been thought to be possible dew-catching devices.

Air Well

An air well or aerial well is a structure or device that collects water by promoting the condensation of moisture from air. Designs for air wells are many and varied, but the simplest designs are completely passive, require no external energy source and have few, if any, moving parts.
Three principal designs are used for air wells: high mass, radiative and active. High-mass air wells were used in the early 20th century, but the approach failed. From the late 20th century onwards, low-mass, radiative collectors proved to be much more successful. Active collectors collect water in the same way as a dehumidifier; although the designs work well, they require an energy source, making them uneconomical except in special circumstances. New, innovative designs seek to minimise the energy requirements of active condensers or make use of renewable energy resources.

Fog Catchers

From Thin Air

This short video introduces fog collection & FogQuest, a Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to providing clean water solutions in the developing world. Shown in this video are fog collection projects in Nepal, Guatemala and Eritrea.

Fog Harvesting

Fog-catching nets offer hope for parched villages.
Parched communities around the world are turning to fog-catching nets to harvest hundreds of gallons of water a day.
Fog catching devices, which resemble volleyball nets and are made of a porous, agricultural plastic mesh which traps the water droplets in the fog, can be an effective solution to the widespread problems of meagre or unclean supplies.
A single 13ft long by 33ft high net alone can collect 66 gallons of water a day, sufficient for a family's needs. The water, which is pure and does not need to be filtered, runs down into troughs and then via pipes into a holding tank.

Fog Catchers Harvest Air's Water in Arid Places

When dense fog sweeps in from the Pacific Ocean, special nets on a hillside near Lima, Peru, catch the moisture and provide precious water to an area that gets very little rainfall--about half an inch (1.5 centimeters) a year. 

The nets stand perpendicular to the prevailing wind, which blows fog into the coarse, woven plastic mesh. From there, drops of fog-water fall into gutters that carry the water to collection tanks. 

Since 2006 the nets--built by German conservationists Kai Tiedemann and Anne Lummerich--have helped provide the village of Bellavista, 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Lima, with hundreds of gallons of water each day during the foggy winter months of June to November.

Fog Harvesting Provides Water for Arid Climates

A method of collecting water from fog could provide potable water for areas suffering from drought conditions.
With fog harvesting, panels made of fine-mesh nylon nets are stretched between two support poles and placed in an area where the prevailing winds blow the fog through the nets. As the fog passes through the nets, the water in the fog is captured. The droplets drop into a collection trough and then are stored in a tank or cistern.
The practice of fog harvesting has been around for more than 30 years. The collection system is currently in use in areas of Guatemala, Ethiopia, Chile, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru.

The fog catchers

The green deserT: In the mountains surrounding Lima, 
Dr. Kai Tiedemann and Anne Lummerich extract freshwater from
fog. The project is being funded by the Global Exploration Fund
– an initiative of Bayer and National Geographic.

Water solutions: Farming the fog

Many people in water-stressed regions get fresh water only once a week if at all. Now scientists have developed a way to make drinking water from fog and mist.

Fog Catchers Bring Water to Parched Villages

When dense fog sweeps in from the Pacific Ocean, special nets on a hillside catch the moisture and provide precious water to the village of Bellavista, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) outside of Lima, Peru. 

With a few thousand dollars and some volunteer labor, a village can set up fog-collecting nets that gather hundreds of gallons of water a day—without a single drop of rain falling, conservationists say.

PHOTOS: Fog Catchers Harvest Air's Water in Arid Places

Plastic funnels collect fog-water dripping from river she-oak trees planted in Bellavista, a small hillside settlement outside Lima that receives very little rainfall. 

Desert and other dry communities around the world started harvesting fog-water dripping from trees as far back as 2,000 years ago. 

Before fog-catching nets were installed, Bellavista residents relied on water that was trucked in, often paying ten times as much as people farther downhill who are connected to the municipal water supply.

The Fog Catchers

That’s what German industrial designer Imke Hoehler came up with for her Bachelor Thesis: catch fog to turn into drinking water. She designed these ‘DropNets’. The nets capture tiny water droplets out of fog clouds, and unite the small droplets into bigger ones. You can receive up to 20 liters of drinking water a day with these bad boys. All you need for them to work is fog (and a lack of clean drinking water?). Nice execution of a (seemingly) simple idea! Check out the pictures at Imke’s portfolio.

Beetle fog-catcher inspires engineers

Studies of a desert beetle that gathers drinking water from morning fog using a system of ridges on its back could lead to more efficient methods of obtaining water in arid environments. It could also lead to improved water distillation and de-humidifying equipment, say the researchers who studied the Stenocara.

How does the Groasis waterboxx work against desertification?

Visit for more information. Infographic explaining how the Groasis waterboxx works. This video is also available in French, Dutch, Portugese or Spanish.

"Infographics explaining Groasis technology" video playlist

Fog & Dew Collectors: Design For A Thirsty World

Here’s a potentially live-saving and thirst-quenching design prototype that we like: British designer Alon Alex Gross has created fog and dew collectors that build on existing, traditional techniques of rain harvesting with lightweight, modern materials. (Apparently, the device can also be connected to the internet for better accessibility and remote monitoring.) Yet, the gadgets are low-tech enough for people living in water-scarce developing areas to collect clean drinking water.

Shown at this year’s Tuttobene exhibition in Milan, Gross’ fog harvester (above) has a 2-metre screen mesh that can capture up to 10 litres of fog droplets from the air in 24 hours. 

His dew collector, pictured above, weighs a mere 400 grams and has a special laminate foil that pulls dew drops to it, allowing it to collect up to 1.5 liters of fresh water per night. Because extreme conditions can harm the laminate foil, Gross has also designed an additional sensor system that can react to atmospheric changes by opening or closing the apparatus accordingly. Both are very refreshing and low-tech design responses, providing water to people who need it most.