Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 235–249 | Cite as

Fog water as an alternative and sustainable water resource

  • Jeremy K. Domen
  • William T. Stringfellow
  • Mary Kay Camarillo
  • Shelly Gulati


As the world’s population and demand for fresh water increases, new water resources are needed. One commonly overlooked aspect of the water cycle is fog, which is an important part of the hydrology of coastal, high-altitude, and forested regions. Fog water harvesting is being investigated as a sustainable alternative water resource for drinking water and reforestation. Fog water harvesting involves using mesh nets to collect water as fog passes through them. The materials of these nets, along with environmental factors such as wind speed, influence the volume of water collected. In this article, a review of current models for fog collection, designs, and applications of fog water harvesting is provided. Aspects of fog water harvesting requiring further research and development are identified. In regions with frequent fog events, fog water harvesting is a sustainable drinking water resource for rural communities with low per capita water usage. However, an analysis of fog water harvesting potential for the coastal areas of northern California (USA) showed that fog yields are too small for use as domestic water in areas with higher household water demands. Fog water shows particular promise for application in reforestation. Fog water irrigation can increase growth rates and survivability of saplings in reforestation efforts in regions with frequent fog events. Using fog collectors, denuded areas once dependent on natural fog drip can be restored, benefiting local hydrology and ecosystem recovery. Improvement in fog collector designs, materials, and models to increase collection efficiency, perhaps by inclusion of ideas from natural systems, will expand the regions where fog harvesting can be applied.


Fog water harvesting Reforestation Sustainable water resource 



Standard fog collector


Aerodynamic collector efficiency

List of symbols


Rate of water collection (L h−1)


Water content of air (g m−3)


Cross-sectional area of fog collector mesh (m2)


Wind speed (m s−1)


Efficiency due to impaction


Stokes number


Water surface tension (N m−1)


Density of water (kg m−3)


Droplet diameter (m)


Gravitational constant (m s−2)


Diameter of attached surface (m)


Fog water volume (L)


Fog collector efficiency


Fog potential index


Relative humidity function


Wind speed function


Ambient dry temperature (°C)


Dew point temperature (°C)


Vapor pressure, millibar


Saturated water vapor pressure (millibar)


Relative humidity (%)


Aerodynamic collection efficiency


Proportion of drops that will collide if unperturbed


Proportion of drops that actually collide


Proportion of water that reaches the trough


Shade coefficient


Drag coefficient of non-permeable screen


Pressure loss coefficient of mesh



Jeremy Domen was supported by a graduate fellowship from the University of the Pacific School of Engineering & Computer Science, and research funding from the Ecological Engineering Research Program. Part of William Stringfellow’s effort was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy K. Domen
    • 1
  • William T. Stringfellow
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mary Kay Camarillo
    • 1
  • Shelly Gulati
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecological Engineering Research ProgramSchool of Engineering and Computer Science, University of the PacificStocktonUSA
  2. 2.Earth Sciences DivisionLawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryBerkeleyUSA

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