WarkaWater – reducing hardship for rural Ethiopians

By Lorrin Windahl.

Hopefully, by now, most people are aware of the hardship associated with obtaining clean drinking water in many parts of Africa. I have actually witnessed primary school children carrying 20 litre jerry cans full of water for long distances. Jerry cans that, when full, I couldn’t even lift. To address this issue, Architecture and Vision have developed WarkaWater, a water harvester for rural Ethiopia.

WarkaWater is named after, and inspired by, the Warka tree – a distinctive shape in the Ethiopian landscape. Traditionally a structure used for shelter and as a social gathering point, the Warka tree is slowly disappearing due to deforestation. The WarkaWater pays homage to the tree and it is hoped that this new structure will also become a local meeting area for the local community.

WarkaWater is designed to capture condensation from the air in order to provide potable water for surrounding communities. Utilizing traditional craftsmanship and locally sourced materials, the WarkaWater has been developed with cultural sensitivity and sustainability in mind. The structure consists of a bamboo frame with a taut fabric interior which harvests any moisture in the air. The tower is constructed from top to bottom, in 5 modules, and can be built by just 4 men without the need for scaffolding. Weighing only 60kg it can provide 100 litres of drinking water per day.

The design has been showcased worldwide at various exhibitions and the project aims to be working in Ethiopia in 2015.

It is hoped the WarkaWater will become a social meeting place. Image: Architecture & Vision.

It is hoped the WarkaWater will become a social meeting place. Image: Architecture & Vision.

The WarkaWater was exhibited at the 13th international architecture biennale, in Venice in 2012. Image: Architecture & Vision.

The WarkaWater was exhibited at the 13th International Architecture Biennial. Image: Architecture & Vision.

WarkaWater exhibited at Museum for 21st Century Art MAXXI in Rome. Image: Architecture & Vision.

WarkaWater was exhibited at the Museum for 21st Century Art MAXXI in Rome. Image: Architecture & Vision.

The WarkaWater can be constructed by 4 people without a scaffold. Image: Architecture & Vision.

The WarkaWater is 9m tall and can be assembled top down by four people. Image: Architecture & Vision.

 

One Comment on “WarkaWater – reducing hardship for rural Ethiopians

  1. Inspiring what a design can do for people. Great example of how a community can be assisted to become sustainable, lessen the hardship and build a focal point for the community at the same time. Thanks for sharing Lorrin.

    Like

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