Air Date: Week of July 29, 2011
A new exhibit at the Center for Art + Environment in Reno, Nevada features designs for ways to trap and tap fog. Host Bruce Gellerman talks with expert fog catcher Pilar Cereceda. She runs the Atacama Desert Center and has been piping dew in the driest place in the world.
GELLERMAN: An exhibit called "The Fog Garden" opens this week at the Center for Art + Environment in Reno, Nevada. It's a collection of scale models of fog catchers – devices designed to harvest mist in the driest place on the planet: the Atacama Desert along the northern coast of Chile. Pilar Cereceda, the Director of the Atacama Desert Center, is an expert in catching fog.
CERECEDA: It's like when you are in the fog and you have little droplets in your hair…
CERECEDA: Or in the sweater, many times, you can see that. So this is the same idea. And what we use is mosquito mesh nylon thread to stop the wind.
GELLERMAN: How big are these fog catchers?
CERECEDA: You have to think it’s something like…highway billboards.
GELLERMAN: Oh, they’re the size of highway billboards?
CERECEDA: “Drink Coca-Cola!”
CERECEDA: And we had a little town, 300 people, had water from fog for around eight to ten years with fog collectors, and the collectors were in the mountain around 600m of altitude and by a tube it went down and the water was distributed and each house had a tap, and they could open the tap and they would have fog water in their hands.
GELLERMAN: So, let me get this right. You’ve got: The fog rolls in from the ocean…
GELLERMAN: And you’ve got the desert and you’ve got these mountains and the mountains are where you mount your fog catcher.
CERECEDA: Right, exactly.
GELLERMAN: And then you take that water that you capture and you kind of pipe it down to where you need it!
GELLERMAN: How well does it work?
CERECEDA: It works very well. You can have, for example, in this village that I am telling you, there was a lot of fog, almost everyday, usually five or six days in a week you would have fog. And that village would receive one truck of 10 thousand liters once a week. And they had the fog collectors we had the equivalent of one truck a day. So, it works very well.
GELLERMAN: Well, Pilar, thank you very much, I really appreciate it!
CERECEDA: Thank you, Bruce.
GELLERMAN: Pilar Cereceda is the Director of the Atacama Desert Center. Fog Garden – an exhibit featuring scale models of their fog catchers – opens this week at The Center for Art + Environment in Reno, Nevada.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
Living on Earth
62 Calef Highway, Suite 212
Lee, NH 03861
Newsletter [Click here]
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
NewsletterLiving on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Creating positive outcomes for future generations.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth