What is the difference between Warka Water V1.0 and V2.0?

Warka Water version 2.0 is a 12m structure, 3m taller than the previous prototype. We implemented an improved connection system between the Juncus canes, which is faster to assemble. The base is much wider, and thus more stable and allows for maintenance from the inside. There are moving roots with rotating mirrors that keep the birds away from the tower. Packaging and transportation have been optimized as well.

What has been the local response to the Tower’s looks and aesthetics?

A part of the Warka Water concept is to develop a design that can blend into the natural surroundings and aesthetically complement the local architecture. One of our main sources of inspiration, particularly for the structure’s outer shell, was traditional Ethiopian craftsmanship and basket-weaving techniques.

What will it take to produce Warka Towers in greater numbers?

We need to complete the development phase, test the prototypes by launching and monitoring at various pilot locations, and then proceed with the large-scale production. During the pilot phase, we will survey the local surroundings to source materials and determine production sites and requirements.

How much does each tower cost to build?

Once the prototype development and testing phases are completed, we hope to manufacture the Warka on a large-scale, which will bring the cost down. For Ethiopia, our estimated cost per tower is about $1000—significantly less than other water relief options available. The exact cost will depend on where it will be manufactured.

What is needed to have a successful project?

In order to have a successful installation, the following elements must be present:

– a social need for water
– suitable meteorological conditions and topography
– a community that will maintain and use it

What is the meaning of Warka?

The name “Warka Water” comes from the Warka Tree (Ficus Vasta), a giant wild fig tree native to Ethiopia. The tree’s fruit provides nourishment for the people and animals, and its shade is traditionally used for public gatherings and school classes. The Warka tree constitutes a very important part of the Ethiopian culture and ecosystem. The project draws inspiration from various sources. From nature, we observed and studied the Namib Beetle, spider webs, termite hives, and cactus spines to learn how natural organisms and structures collect and retain water from their surroundings. Culturally, we were inspired by the social significance of the Warka tree, Ethiopian craftsmanship, and basket weaving techniques as well as the traditional Mediterranean fish traps called “Nassi di Giunco”.

What motivated you to come up with the design?

In 2012, we visited small isolated villages up on a high plateau in the North East region of Ethiopia. There we witnessed a dramatic reality: the lack of potable water. The villagers live in a beautiful natural environment but often without running water, electricity, a toilet or shower. To survive here, women and children walk every day for miles to shallow, unprotected ponds where the water is often contaminated with human and animal waste, parasites, and diseases. It was imperative to take action and create a solution to mitigate this water shortage issue.

What is Warka Water?

Warka Water is a vertical structure designed to collect/harvest potable water from the air. It offers an alternative water source to rural populations that face challenges in accessing drinkable water.