AIRDRIP© Pneumatic Fog Collector For Rural And Urban Environments In Arid Lands.

The right to water is in the environmental agenda of many communities worldwide. Desertification is the result of a neglectful manned use of land resources. Alternative water supply strategies are required for the mitigation of future global starvation, rural migration and even wars as water resources are mainly employed in agriculture or mining. Regarding the future global pressure of water, the United Nations World Water Development Report has estimated that by 2030 47% of the global population will live in water-stressed region. Hence a sustainable water management protocol is urgent in many settlements,mainly along the Pacific coastline of the Atacama Desert frequently attacked by earthquakes and seasonal droughts.

AIRDRIP© is a pneumatic technology of fog collection that offers an agile solution to increase water yield in fog oases along arid coastal contexts. It has recently been validated via a proof of concept via form, coating and water tests in the Region of Coquimbo, Chile. AIRDRIP© traps and harvests atmospheric water in coastal fog oases through condensation on light colored hydrophobic meshes supported by an inflatable space-frame. The collected water can be directly stored and used for drinking,agricultural irrigation (including urban parks) and restoration of endangered ecosystem.The applied method is research by design, supported by literature review; climatic and structural simulations; mock-ups and prototype; and field works. The hydric, structural and spatial capacities of this 3D fog trap system can help ecosystem restoration,agricultural innovation and autonomous potable water distribution in water-stressed regions in rural or natural environments along the Atacama Desert coast (Coquimbo region, Chile) and similar scenarios.

Pioneering passive fog collector structures (planar versions) were developed in 1950s in Chile. Both standard and large fog collectors have been deployed as an alternative water source in dry areas with frequent dense fog events. The screens are either double-layered agricultural net or vertical Teflon strings for smaller cylindrical devices. These two-dimensional frames only face the prevailing wind direction, so loss is massive. Advanced coating solutions have been experimented but there is still alack of applicability.