Highland communities, including farmers, suffer from severe water scarcity on Santa Cruz island. They rely heavily on water supplies transported by tanker from the lowland town of Puerto Ayora. This reliance produces a range of negative environmental impacts, including direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, as well as declines in crop yields that necessitate food imports. Despite the acknowledgement of local institutions of these prevailing challenges in supplying Santa Cruz with sustainably sourced water resources, as exemplified in the Galapagos 2030 Strategic Plan, a lack of capacity to develop off-grid water capture has prevented necessary changes from being integrated into local water management systems.
Harvesting fog and rainwater may serve as a solution for alleviating issues connected with unsustainable water supplies in Santa Cruz. This project will be led by Dr Charlie Ferguson in collaboration with FUNCAVID and GCT. The project will evaluate the value that fog and rainwater harvesting may have for agricultural smallholders, by potentially reducing their reliance on lowland water supplies. Over the course of one year, a monitoring programme will collect weekly data on the quantity and quality of water supplied to smallholders through these technologies and surveys will be used to investigate how user perceptions fluctuate. The data collected over the course of the project will be used to inform local institutions, including the local water authority and municipality, on the best course of action to take in water management frameworks. Local farmers will also be provided with a community educational programme focused on best practice.
There will be three project phases:
- Implementation – work with local highland smallholdings to construct technologies (2022)
- Monitoring – measure the quantity and quality of water yields, as well as user perception (2022-2023)
- Reporting – produce outputs to influence highland water management (2023)
To find out more about the project, please visit our blog for project updates.
How you can help
This project is kindly supported by: