700 Million People Lack Access to Clean Water — This Bamboo Tower Can Solve That

The need for fresh water has driven people to explore new and innovative methods. For centuries, people have harvested water from rain, fog or even dew in regions where water is scarce. A growing population, global climate change and inefficient water infrastructure in today’s world raise concerns about equitable access to clean drinking water.

An estimate of 780 million people does not have access to a clean and safe water source. This lack of drinking water is a dire situation as it concerns a wide scope of different public health problems which includes the spreading of disease and illnesses, deaths, and inability to grow food.

After visiting small and isolated villages in Ethiopia, Arturo Vitorri and his team had witnessed villagers who lived in an environment that lacks access to water, electricity, and bathrooms. They observed that to get water, the women and children regularly walk miles to shallow, unprotected ponds where water is often contaminated with animal and human waste.

The Warka Water tower was envisioned by Arturo Vitorri and his team in Architecture and Vision. They created a bamboo tower that stands 30 ft. tall and 13 ft. wide which essentially gives people a way of capturing water through thin air. Its main purpose is to support remote communities who are in need of clean and safe water.

So, how does it work?

To summarize, in order to capture the moisture from the air, there is a mesh netting installed on the structure which is directed to a hygienic holding tank. The water vapor from the air either the rain, fog or dew will condense against the cold top layer of the mesh which forms drops of liquid water.

After that, you can access the clean water through a spout. It has a bamboo frame that supports a mesh polyester material inside, the tower is both cheap and easy to build. In order to prevent the collected water from evaporating, there is a fabric canopy shade in the lower sections of the tower. The performance of the structure is weather dependent but each tower has the capability of providing a community with up to 100 liters of water per day.

Here is a summary of the important things to keep a note of from this technology:

  • Warka Water Tower was developed to collect water vapor from the air in areas that lack sufficient water infrastructure for remote or developing communities
  • It functions when it is at its highest capacity, especially, in areas where humidity and fogs are high
  • The tower can harvest from 10 to 20 gallons of water daily where it still depends on the weather conditions
  • This device can be built without electrical tools
  • The Warka Water Tower design is the winner of the World Design Impact Prize in 2016 and is aimed towards mass production this 2019

All images courtesy of Warka Water/architecture and vision

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