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Coastal Mist Towers

Redesign, Chile

One of the greater difficulties of the twenty first century is and will be water shortage. Through time human beings have extensively made use of dams, water-mills and wells to create and maintain a steady supply of water. But why should we limit ourselves to pumping water from the ground and from rivers, when we might also catch the water that is just hanging in the air?

La Chamanchaca
Alongside one of the driest places on earth, the Atacama dessert in Chile, cloud banks are formed above the Ocean, which are then carried inland. These clouds do not drop any rain, but instead form a dense Northern Chile fog, called 'La Chamanchaca'. Almost twenty years ago the fog was already perceived as an potential sustainable water source. A fine netting made out of polypropylene was placed in between two large pillars – a construction similar to a volleyball net – to capture the fog. The nets worked as expected, but unfortunately the maintenance of the netting was poor. They are are now being used on a small scale.

Design of a full scale fog catherFuturistic Towers
If the people in the Chilean dry lands were to truly benefit from La Chamanchaca, a more durable solution had to be sought. The architects Alberto Fernandez Gonzalez and Susana Valeria Ortega Gomez succeeded in designing a 650 feet tower. The main element of the tower is high density plastic filter. It is held by a solid structure of four spiraling arms that transport the water downwards. The towers are able to capture and purify 2,500 to 13,000 gallons of water per day, depending on the density of the fog. This capacity will allow the production of a great amount of drinking water, as well as the development of sustainable agriculture on the edge of the Atacama dessert.