With an estimated 5,000 children dying daily due to dirty drinking water, Joseph Cory and Eyal Malka’s award-winning WatAir design for Arup and WaterAid’s drawn water challenge might be the response barren landscapes are looking for. Simply described, WatAir produces water from the air through its inverted pyramid array of panels. Inspired by spiderwebs and the dew-catching properties of leaves, WatAir is easy to incorporate into both rural and urban landscapes due to its relatively small footprint.
Arup’s and WaterAid’s drawing water challenge launched in September of 2006 as an ideas competition seeking innovative ways to “help many more people gain access to safe water and effective sanitation.” Over 91 entrants responded from 19 countries across North America, with WatAir taking away the grand prize. Each WatAir unit features 96 square meters of lightweight dew-collecting panels that gravitationally funnel moisture from the air to one collective source. The designers estimate that each unit can collect roughly 48 liters of water in remote places or places that do not have any clean water sources. The panels are flexible, easy to collapse when not in use, and readily available to provide shade and even some shelter.
The low-tech design was conceived by Joseph Cory of Geotectura and Eyal Malka of Malka Architects from Haifa, Israel.