Warka Tower is designed to harvest water from the atmosphere (rain, fog, dew) providing an alternative water source for rural populations that face challenges accessing drinkable water.
It is a passive structure, it functions only by natural phenomena such as gravity, condensation & evaporation. Easy to maintain it is operated autonomously by the villagers. The design depends on the local environment: meteorological conditions, site geomorphological characteristics, local indigenous culture, natural materials available.
The root cause of developing countries’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.
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.
The initiative started in 2012, since then we have designed, implemented, and constructed several prototypes on different scales to test various aspects of the project. In 2015 an important milestone, the construction of the first pilot in Dorze, Southern Ethiopia. In 2019 the second pilot has been constructed in Cameroon, in the South Region.
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 tools for the design and simulations, as well as physical prototypes to test the durability of the materials.
Our design philosophy is to construct using only local, natural materials, biodegradable and 100% recyclable materials(no concrete, plastic, or steel). Some of the materials are:
• Bamboo • Earth • Wood • Water • Raffia Palm Leaves • Raffia Bamboo canes • Lianas • Dry Straw • Dry Reeds.
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.
Warka Tower is designed to harvest potable water from the atmosphere (it collects rain, harvests fog and dew). It functions only by natural phenomena such us gravity, condensation & evaporation and doesn’t require electrical power. Warka Tower is designed to be owned and operated by the villagers, a key factor that will facilitate the success of the project. 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 Tower is designed to be easily built and maintained without the need for scaffolding or electrical equipment. We collaborate with the local community integrating traditional tools and construction techniques into the project. Every version of the Warka Tower shares the same design philosophy with the others but it differentiate from them by shape, geometry, and materials adopted. This is why is not possible to estimate the construction time and the costs of a new Warka Tower.
WARKA TOWER 1
The Warka Tower, version n. 1, it is the first prototype developed. It modular and prefabricated system that can be erected in one day by a team of 6 people. After installation, to take the tower up and down for maintenance it requires only 2 hours by the same team. The structure consists of 4 modules that are mounted together with one after another from the bottom up.
WARKA TOWER 3
The Warka Tower, version n. 3.2, it is a modular and prefabricated system that can be erected in one day by a team of 16 people. After installation, taking the tower up and down for maintenance requires only 2 hours by the same team. The structure consists of six modules that are mounted together with one after another from the bottom up.
Warka Tower version 3.2 was successfully installed in March 2015 as the first WT Pilot to be deployed in a rural community. This has been a very important milestone for the project's development and much experience has been gained since. The knowhow acquired has been fundamental for the development and implementation of subsequent versions up to the version 4.0, the second pilot in a rural community currently under construction in Cameroon.
Warka Tower version 3.7 was successfully tested in March 2016. It is the second WT Pilot deployed in Bomarzo. The know-how acquired with 3.2 has been fundamental for the development and implementation of these subsequent versions.
Warka Tower 4
The Warka Tower, version n. 4, has been constructed in Cameroon and inaugurated 15 October 2019.
The costs for the realization of a Warka Tower varies depending on the place where it is built. The variables are the environmental context, the local labor and material costs and them availability. The first pilots in a new geographical context for us implies additional costs due to the logistic and initial set up.