Yemen - Hajja/Mabijan 2003-2005

Update 2009

As noted below, this project was completed successfully and turned over to the villages and the local NGO. To the best of our knowledge, unfortunately, the Large Fog Collectors were not adequately maintained and the system is no longer functioning; however, the data collected are important in demonstrating the large amounts of fog water that can be collected in the mountain desert, on the west coast of Yemen, on the Arabian Peninsula. The critical factor with this project was the commitment, or lack thereof, of the members of the villages to work on the maintenance of the LFCs. Other factors that should be noted are the use of a non-standard mesh and the strong winds that occur a few times in the year and necessitate the lowering of the mesh by the users of the LFCs.

Update 2006

After completion of the construction phase of the project, it was turned over, as required, to ICS-Yemen and Vision Hope, under the direction of Matthias Leibbrand. Some of the history after the construction phase is given below. FogQuest has had no budget to initiate visits to the site or for field work to evaluate the state of the fog collectors. Both the initial evaluation using the small standard collectors and the initial results from the large fog collectors clearly showed that significant fog water could be collected on the mountains in the Hajja region of Yemen. The on-going success of the project will depend, as always, on the involvement of the villagers, the active participation of the local NGO, and the use of good quality materials for the construction. FogQuest remains available to assist at any time our help is requested.

Update July 2005

The new mesh has now been installed on seven large fog collectors. This will allow Matthias Leibbrand to test the new less dense mesh on both larger and smaller sizes of fog collectors to see how they stand up to the summer winds. The original mesh was purchased locally and was not the same as what FogQuest normally uses. The new mesh from Saudi Arabia is similar in weave and shade coefficient.

Update February 2005

In February 2005 FogQuest provided funds for the purchase of new 35% mesh from a source in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The work of replacing the old mesh from Saudi Arabia is being carried out under the direction of Matthias Leibbrand, who is affiliated with Vision Hope International in Germany and with ICS - Yemen. The new mesh is being purchased to improve the performance and the durability of the large fog collectors. Should it prove to be effective and durable, it will give us another useful source for mesh in the region. This purchase was made possible as a result of a generous donation from Komex International Ltd. in Calgary, Canada.

Update August 2004

It has been found that during the summer there are extremely strong winds at times at the mountain sites. Therefore, the mesh on the large fog collectors has been taken down temporarily and will be installed again at the beginning of the dry winter period. At that time, modifications to the structure of the LFCs will also likely be made. A summary of the results at the Mabijan locations is available for members in the Members’ section, in the form of a paper written for the 3rd International Conference on Fog, Fog Collection and Dew, in Cape Town, South Africa, 11-15 October, 2004.

Update February 2004

The water supply project was successfully implemented in January 2004. A total of 25 large fog collectors (LFCs) were built for four communities located about 30 minutes by truck to the northwest of the city of Hajja. The area is very arid and rocky and the construction of the LFCs was a challenge. You will see some of the dramatic results in FogQuest Newsletter Issue 12. The water from each pair of LFCs goes to a 1 m³ galvanized metal tank. The overflow goes to the traditional in-ground stone or cement cisterns that the people use. They can thus take clean water from the tanks, which are constantly refilled, and other water from the cisterns as needed. The production rate from a pair of LFCs is estimated to be about 360 L of water per day in the winter dry period. This can be sufficient for 36 people at a subsistence level, or 12 people (two families) at a more generous 30 L per person per day. Regular contact with the people in the communities will be maintained by ICS, which is based in the city of Hajja.

Update December 2003

As a result of the good fog collection rates in the Mabijan District of the Hajja Governorate, a project to construct 25 large fog collectors has begun in December 2003. Approximately 4500 L of clean water per day will be provided to two villages during the dry winter season. The fog collectors will continue to provide water from fog and rain throughout the remainder of the year at a rate that remains to be determined. Funding for the project is from the German Development Agency (GTZ). Partners in the project are International Community Services (ICS-Yemen) who will provide overall project management, a local Yemeni NGO Jamaiyya Mustaqbal for capacity building and community mobilization, and FogQuest for the water production system and project guidance in a number of areas. Pablo Osses from FogQuest will be in Yemen from late December to late January working on the project.

Background

FogQuest has completed its participation in a new project to evaluate the amount of fog water available in the mountains of Yemen near Hajja. This is north of the capital city of Sana’a and inland from the Red Sea. The work is being done with the NGO, International Community Services, which has been active in the country for many years. Funding for the project has come from the Social Fund for Development in Yemen. See the February 2003 FogQuest Newsletter for photos.

In early January, 2003, Pablo Osses (then FogQuest Field Operations Manager) was in Hajja to install 26 small Standard Fog Collectors and one Large Fog Collector. When the project is operational, the water from the fog collectors will be stored in community cisterns that ICS has been renovating for the people. This is the traditional means of water storage in the Middle East and many of the cisterns are hundreds of years old. The evaluation lasted from 1 January to 31 March 2003. These are the dry winter months when rainfall is virtually non-existent and the need for water is very high. Sufficient fog water was obtained to justify a large project. The best sites averaged 4.5 L m-2 day-1 over the three-month period. This means that one Large Fog Collector could produce about 180 L per day, which is sufficient clean water to support a family of nine people. In conjunction with ICS Yemen, we will now apply for funding for the operational project. It would be implemented later in 2003. We will also consider field studies in other parts of the country that have the potential to make use of fog collectors to supply water.

Studies carried out near Salalah in the Sultanate of Oman in 1989 and 1990 showed extremely high fog collection rates on the coastal mountains during the summer. This is an indication that the south coast of Yemen may also have good potential. FogQuest is currently looking at a joint fog collection study in Ethiopia, which has different fog conditions from those in Yemen and Oman in its mountainous areas. It is a country with an on-going drought and severe rural water shortages.