Peru - Cerro Orara 1990

Update 2009

This project was undertaken many years before FogQuest was formed. The data collected are important in demonstrating the amounts of fog water that can be collected and effectively used in the arid desert near Lima, Peru.


The coast of Peru is a true desert of sand and rock. In the surroundings of Lima, the capital, are many settlements where people live with meager water supplies. In 1990 the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provided funding to carry out a fog collection assessment project near Lima, with the assistance of the Canadian Embassy and the Servicio Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología of Peru (SENAMHI). Pilar Cereceda and Robert Schemenauer selected a site at 430 m elevation, 3.5 km from the coast, just 35 km north of Lima, with the help of Percy Mosca and Cristóbal Pinche of SENAMHI . It was above a pueblo joven (squatter settlement) called Los Rosales. Additional measurements were made at higher elevations on the nearby Lomas de Ancón.

A student, Marcela Suit from Chile, made measurements at the site from June through December and subsequently used the data for her thesis. Continuous meteorological data were obtained during this period from a well equipped station. As well, a set of Standard Fog Collectors were installed to measure the collection rates associated with winds from different directions and the relative contributions of rainfall and fog to the water collected were determined. These well documented results were reported in the two papers listed below. The results formed the basis for subsequent fog collection projects in coastal Peru and were the first comprehensive meteorological measurements on the coastal hills. The fog collection rate averaged a substantial 9 L m-2 day-1 during the period with complete data, from August to December 1990. Ten days in the period generated rates over 25 L m-2 day-1 . Other months of the year would be expected to produce water at lower rates, though indications are that May, June and July are also good. This project did not lead to an operational project for the people of Los Rosales but demonstrated that a real possibility exists to use the persistent fog on the coastal hills to generate large amounts of water. A project with a collection surface of 2000 m2 would produce about 18,000 L a day during eight months of the year. Water could be stored for the drier summer period of January through April.