Ecuador - 1992 - 1993

Update 2009

FogQuest receives a steady number of requests from Ecuador related to past and potential future fog collection projects, e.g. there have been three in 2009. To our knowledge no new fog collection projects have been undertaken in Ecuador recently. It is anticipated that at some point in the future an active local NGO will come forward with a proposal for a village or habitat restoration project.

Note: significant operational fog collection projects were done in the 1990s at Pachamama Grande and at Mitad del Mundo. When time permits, they will be described in separate sections under Past Projects.

Background

Ecuador has stretches of semi-arid coastline where the people experience water shortages and high water costs. There are coastal mountains that are seasonally fog covered creating a good place for fog collection projects. There are also stretches of the Andes where fog is frequent at very high elevations.

The first of three projects evaluating the fog collection potential in Ecuador began in December 1992. Located in the Northwestern provinces of Manabí and Guayas, near the city of Puerto López, 8 Standard Fog Collectors (SFCs) were installed in and around Machalilla National Park with funding support from CIDA and the participation of Gary Hunnisett from the office in Lima, Peru. The procedures and equipment used were those developed in Chile and Pilar Cereceda (Chile) and Robert Schemenauer (Canada) assisted with the evaluations. Data were collected from December 1992 through July 1993 at altitudes ranging from 225 m to 450 m above sea level. The photo with this article shows a Standard Fog Collector at 405 m in Machalilla National Park.

In the Southern province of Loja, Celica Region, another evaluation project was undertaken. The efforts of NGOs from Ecuador: Fundación Grupo Esquel, Centro de Investigaciones Sociales Alternativas (CISA), and Fundación Ecológica Arcoiris, resulted in the installation of 12 SFCs at altitudes of about 2480 m. Fog collection data for December 1992 and January 1993 were recorded and the findings indicate potential for an area with fog during as much as 80% of the year. CISA, through the efforts of the director, Gabriel Zurita, was also involved in a third evaluation project in the province of Pichincha, in the Pululahua region. Data were collected from 6 SFCs situated at elevations of 2830 m from January to July of 1993. As with the evaluation in Loja, CISA provided some scientific and technical assistance.

The results were also favorable in this project. It is particularly important given that the region receives only 500 mm of annual precipitation. All three initial evaluations produced large amounts of water from the fog collectors, likely due to the presence of some drizzle and rain, as well as the extended periods of fog that were present on most days in the high Andes. The coastal fog collection season begins late in the year and extends from June through November, creating adequate fog collection to appease water shortages during the dry season. The results from all three projects were very encouraging and would definitely support undertaking more extensive evaluation programs in each region. A subsequent operational project at Pululahua will be described in another report on this site.