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Brilliantly Simple Tower That Collects Drinking Water Out of Thin Air

Sunday, November 13, 2016 18:42
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Warka Water is a vertical structure designed to collect potable water from the air. It offers an alternative water source to rural populations that face challenges in accessing drinkable water.

The Warka Water project is designed by Architecture and Vision to harvest potable water from the atmosphere for remote villages in rural Ethiopia.

Recent studies show that only 34% of Ethiopia’s population has access to an improved water supply. This implies that approximately 60 million people lack safe water. The mission of this project is to help improve this dramatic situation, finding a solution and help these people with Warka Water (WW): an environmentally, socially and financially sustainable solution to potable water.

The name of the project ‘Warka’ comes from the Warka tree, a giant wild fig tree native to Ethiopia. It constitutes a very important part of the local culture and ecosystem by providing both fruit and a gathering place for the community.

The tree is a symbol for the local people: a village without a Warka tree is not considered honorable. Hence, despite widespread deforestation that has become a major problem in Ethiopia, the villagers protect and look after the Warka tree, and the tree in turn serves the community that takes care of it. Likewise, Warka Water strives to become an important cornerstone for the local community.

Warka Water is designed to be owned and operated by the villagers, a key factor that helps guarantee the success of this project.

It is a vertical structure designed to harvest potable water from the atmosphere (it collects rain, harvests fog and dew). The tower not only provides a fundamental resource for life – water – but also creates a social place for the community, where people can gather under the shade of its canopy for education and public meetings.

Warka Water is designed to be easily transported also where infrastructure are limited. The tower is modular and the elements join together with a simple technique. The size of each module is small enough to be transported even by foot climbing up to steep pathways to remote places where no means of transportation can reach.

Fog harvesting isn’t a brand-new idea but go back to thousands of years ago in arid regions. During wet conditions, water droplets collect on the mesh, flow downwards by gravity and drip into the Collector. The water is then channeled to the storage tank located at the center of the Warka Water base.

The systems also require no power to run. New filters and net repairs are the basic maintenance requirements. Drawbacks generally come from dust and debris that blow into the nets and spill into the water as it collects.

Few days ago, Warka Water​ has been announced as the Winner of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design World Design Impact Prize.

As Warka Water states “Every drop counts“: if you want to help Warka Water to make safe water available in rural communities around the world, you can contribute to the project.

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