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Update 2009 The fog collectors have been producing water for nine years and were examined and repaired in August of this year. This project continues to provide water for a commercial aloe vera crop for the people of Falda Verde.
The project is under the direction and control of the community group and all decisions on its future rest with them. FogQuest volunteers in Chile are available and assist whenever asked.
The fog collection project has grown slowly and steadily. In 2005 FogQuest added four new LFCs as well as some infrastructure to pipe and store the water. Funding was provided through donations from Rotary Clubs in southern Ontario, Canada. The ten fog collectors that are presently in place provide about 600 liters water a day to the greenhouses and aloe vera plantations at the bottom the cliff. The water for the aloe vera is distributed through a drip irrigation system. The maintenance work is done by the men the Atacama Fog Collection Group and the beneficiaries the food produced and sold are their families. Funds have now been found from the mine, AngloAmerican, in Chile, to build 6 more LFCs in 2007. This will increase the average daily water production to about 1000 liters. Virginia Carter, FogQuest’s Field Project Coordinator in Santiago, has been in regular contact with the group in Falda Verde and will assist with the new phase work this year. The steady progress at the site and the addition some modest tourist income from visitors to the site, gives assurance that this project will continue for years to come. It is located in the driest part the world and the group has built a walking trail, with rest stops, that goes from the aloe vera plantation in the sand at the bottom to the top the cliff where the fog collectors produce the water. The medium term goal the Atacama Fog Collection Group is to expand their income from both the agriculture and the tourism at Falda Verde.
Update February 2005
The plan for expansion the six LFC water supply system at Falda Verde in the north Chile moved forward in January. A potential funding source for seven new LFCs, a greenhouse and a reservoir, has been approached. We have a letter commitment from the community to do the work once the funds are available. The existing project has been providing fog water to greenhouses since 2001 for use by two very poor communities on the edge the nearby city Chañaral. The people have demonstrated a strong work ethic and have a real commitment to better the lives their families.
Background from 2001
The project began in mid 2001 to provide water to the coastal location called Falda Verde in the north Chile. The location is about 5 km north the city Chañaral in an area where the average annual precipitation is 30 mm. The people who run the project and benefit from it live on the edges Chañaral and go to Falda Verde to work on the fog collectors and plantation. The construction work was carried out by a group 20 men called the Atacama Fog Collection Group. The six initial large fog collectors each have a collection area 48 m2 and are on the cliff 600 m above the agricultural area. A pipeline takes the water down to a greenhouse 100 m above the coast and to the area being developed. The greenhouse initially had almost 900 tomato plants in it. The fog collection location on the cliff has been recognized for years as having water production potential. A recent paper on the measurements at Falda Verde is based on the work Horacio Larrain (FogQuest member) and colleagues in Iquique and Antagasta, and Pilar Cereceda (FogQuest member) and her group at the Pontifical Catholic University Chile in Santiago. The daily average collection rate 1.5 L m-2 day-1 is the lowest six sites studied in northern Chile and will yield an average about 430 L water per day from the six collectors. Horacio Larrain and Raquel Pinto provided guidance for the people Falda Verde in the development the project. Pablo Osses and other FogQuest volunteers from Santiago have provided guidance from the beginning the work.