The Warka Water tower literally pulls clean drinking water straight from thin air. First debuted in rural Ethiopia, and conceived as a way to help communities in the area that lack access to safe drinking water, the innovative design recently took home the World Design Impact Prize in Taipei. Each tower consists of a bamboo frame, recyclable and biodegradable mesh, and a water tank which can easily be assembled by six local villagers in only four days. It is able to collect up to 100 liters of drinking water a day which gives it the potential to have sweeping social and environmental impacts.
Each tower weighs up to 90kg and is made out of 5 modules of specially coated fabric that collects moisture lingering in the air, such as rain water, fog, and dew. Though simple, the apparatus is well designed, inspired by naturally occurring structures such as cactus spines and termite hives. Its conic shape affords stability and helps in the packaging and transportation process, and the crown keeps birds away.
This innovative design concept was named after the “Warka” Ethiopian fig tree, around which communities tend to gather–it serves as “a very important part of the Ethiopian culture and ecosystem.” The brilliant invention is the brainchild of Italian designer Arturo Vittori with the studio Architecture and Vision. Studies show that only 34% of Ethiopia’s population has access to a safe water supply. The mission of the creators of the Warka Water is to change this by handing an environmentally and financially sustainable tool straight to the people who need it.