Did you know that throughout this historic drought in California, the lowest rainfall in recorded history (about 150 years), our neighborhood Willow Creek has continued to flow year round?
Q: How can this little creek flow year-round, when there was almost no rain between January 2013 and February 2014? Where does this water come from?
A: The water in Willow Creek comes from condensation of the marine fog layer on the crest of the ridge above Sausalito. The dew collects on the leaves and the ground and slowly seeps through the ground to the creek. Since the ocean-based fog layer exists throughout the year including all summer long, it provides this year-round water source that gives us the gift of water flow every day of the year.
Q: Has anyone ever invented a way to capture fog condensation to create water supply, especially in drought-stricken and dry countries near the ocean?
A: YES. One company copied the Namid desert beetle’s ability to collect water in the desert (from South West Africa) to design a fence to collect fog condensation: http://www.wunderground.com/news/biomimicry-eight-ways-weve-copied-nature-and-gained-it-20140205?pageno=5 .
In the Atacama Desert in Chile, an MIT researcher is setting up fences to create water supply in the driest desert on earth: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/how-to-get-fresh-water-out-of-thin-air-0830.html
Maybe someday we’ll build fences in California to get water from fog! The reason why we haven’t so far is because it takes a lot of fence (and a lot of money) to make enough water for how many people live here. But as we’ve learned this year, we need to be creative and conservative with our precious water, because we can’t live without it!