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Warka Tower is an alternative water source for rural populations that face challenges in accessing drinkable water. Where infrastructure doesn’t exist and communities are isolated, a lightweight, easily constructed, and infrastructure independent system like Warka Tower can be installed.
Adopting the Warka Tower for a small rural community can lead to numerous impactful initiatives.
The root cause of Ethiopia’s major health problems is the spread of diseases perpetuated by the lack of clean water and sanitation systems. Often contaminated by human and animal waste, water quality is severely poor. The impact of tainted water on the health of communities is shocking. Each year, many children die of diarrhea and other illnesses, such as malnutrition, pneumonia and malaria.
The project finds inspiration from nature—insects and plants that have developed the capability of collecting and storing water from the air to survive in the most hostile environments on earth. We also study local craftsmanship and construction techniques, vernacular architecture and ancient, forgotten traditions.
The name of the project ‘Warka’ comes from the Warka Tree, which is a giant, wild fig tree native to Ethiopia. Like the tree, the Warka Tower serves as important cornerstone for the local community, becoming part of the local culture and ecosystem by providing its fruits, shade and offering a gathering place.
Air always contains a certain amount of water vapor, irrespective of local ambient temperatures and humidity conditions. This makes it possible to produce water from air almost anywhere in the world. Locations with high rates of fog or humidity are the best places to install the Warka Tower. The water harvesting capacity strictly depends on the meteorological conditions and the aim is to distribute from 40 to 80 liters (10 to 20 gallons) of drinking water every day for use of the community.
Since 2012, we have developed several design concepts and constructed 12 full-scale prototypes in order to test different materials within varying environmental conditions. We use the most advanced design tools for simulations, as well as physical structures for material tests.
Warka Tower is realized with biodegradable and 100% recyclable materials. Our philosophy is to use local materials and traditional techniques as much as possible.
The tower is also designed to be easily built with simple tools and maintained by local villagers without the need of scaffolding or electrical tools.
The Warka Tower can be constructed in 4 weeks and erected in one hour with a team of 16 people. It consists of six modules that are mounted together one after another from the bottom up.