Bolivia: Successful handover of the CloudFisher plant to the population

The fog collector project in the Bolivian Andes, which started in September 2019, was successfully completed in March 2023 after some corona-related delays. Now the families and students in the remote regions of Pampagrande and Moro Moro have permanent access to sufficient clean drinking water.

During an initial visit in September 2019, a multi-member team had reviewed the meteorological and geological conditions for the installation of fog collectors at several sites. In the end, the team consisting of representatives from the WaterFoundation, Munich Re, Zabalketa and ICO decided on three locations where the CloudFisher would be set up:

The school of Alto Veladero, as well as the highland communities of Saguintito in Alto Veladero (Pampagrande region) and Sivingalito in the Moro Moro region.

The materials necessary for the construction were shipped from Germany to Bolivia in February 2020 and were received and stored by the Bolivian partners in mid-March.

Prior to construction, each household was visited by an ICO staff member to obtain accurate information about the number of people and their access to and use of water. He explained the project to them, answered their questions, and asked them to help build the fog nets and maintain them. The GPS coordinates of each household were registered in order to locate them on a map.

In addition, there were meetings with the water committees of Alto Veladero and Sivingalito to take their suggestions and requests and activate the committees to participate. In the end, these committees are responsible for water issues in the community, and their cooperation is critical to the sustainability of the project.

As 2020 progressed, measurement data on wind, fog, and rainfall was collected on an ongoing basis. Contracts for the laying of water supply lines were negotiated and signed with the relevant authorities. Agreements were also reached with the farmers on whose land the CloudFisher was to be built, for the community to use the land free of charge.

In the spring of 2021, the people of Sivingalito took up their shovels and dug a 1080-meter-long trench to lay the water pipeline from the CloudFisher down to the village or to the temporary storage tanks.

The actual construction of the CloudFisher then took place in the summer of 2022 – under the technical direction of Peter Trautwein (aqualonis GmbH). For this purpose, the old water collection systems were removed, the locations of the foundations were determined, and the holes for the foundations were dug and filled with cement. The nets and water collection pipes were attached to the steel pipes fixed in them.

Now there are 13 nets at the Alto Veladero school, whose collected water can be stored in a 3500-liter tank. A 5,000-liter tank is located near 5 CloudFisher nets placed in central Alto Veladero, and 12 more nets will directly serve the community of Saguintito. Also 12 CloudFisher nets have been set up in groups of three near Sivingalito. 

At the end of the construction, the installations were secured from trespassers and animals by fencing installed by the population.

In October and November 2022, the ceremonial opening of the facilities and the handover to the population took place. The students in Alto Veladero had rehearsed a festive program especially for this purpose.  

At the beginning of 2023, representatives from the NGO Aprodes and from Caritas Abancay from Peru were guests, in order to inform themselves on site about the collection of drinking water through fog collectors. These organizations are partners of the WaterFoundation in Peru, where the next CloudFisher plants will be built in 2023.

Water analyses in February and March 2023 showed that the quality of the water harvested by the CloudFisher is fine.

Following various workshops with the authorities and the local water committees, the NGO Zabalketa published a Spanish-language 60-page brochure containing the most important facts about fog harvesting with the CloudFisher. Illustrations and drawings explain the technical procedure.

The positive effects of the fog collectors are made particularly clear in a video:

More information about the project at:

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