A BAMBOO TOWER THAT PRODUCES WATER FROM AIR
THE WARKAWATER TOWER is an unlikely structure to find jutting from the Ethiopian landscape. At 30 feet tall and 13 feet wide, it’s not half as big as its namesake tree (which can loom 75 feet tall), but it’s striking nonetheless. The spindly tower, of latticed bamboo lined with orange polyester mesh, isn’t art—though it does kind of look like it. Rather, the structure is designed to wring water out of the air, providing a sustainable source of H2O for developing countries.
Created by Arturo Vittori and his team at Architecture and Vision, the towers harvest water from rain, fog and dew. This isn’t a new idea—people have been doing this for as long as they've needed water, often with air wells. Often built as high-rising stone structures, air wells gather moisture from the air and funnel it into a basin for collection. The WarkaWater functions in much the same way, using mesh netting to capture moisture and direct it into hygienic holding tank accessed via a spout.
We wrote about the towers last year when Vittori unveiled a full-size prototype. The company has a newer version of the WarkaWater and a Kickstarter campaign to fund field testing in Ethiopia later this year. Based on tests performed in its Italian lab, the company claims the latest iteration can harvest 13 to 26.4 gallons of water daily. That’s less than most people flush away each day, but a significant quantity in a country where some 60 million people lack sufficient potable water.