The Warka Water project was inspired by a trip the design team took in 2012 to isolated villages in northeast Ethiopia that lacked access to clean and safe water. Determined to improve the villagers’ living conditions, the team drew inspiration from the way natural organisms collect water as well as from Ethiopian craftsmanship to create the Warka Water tower, a woven basket-like structure that sustainably harvests dew, fog, and rain into potable water. Each tower is made from local and biodegradable materials such as bamboo, hemp, and bio-plastic, and is covered in a mesh fabric with a special coating that allows water collection.
In addition to environmental sustainability, the Warka Water project will also be socially and financially sustainable. The structures are designed to be owned by the villagers and serve as a community gathering space. The Warka Water tower is estimated to harvest between 50 and 100 liters of potable water every day and can store up to 1,000 liters. The 132-pound, easy-to-maintain structure costs approximately $1,000 and can be constructed in just four days by a team of six.
The funds from the Warka Water Kickstarter will support the team’s first field test in Ethiopia, a crucial phase that would allow the team to scale up and launch pilots in other regions. The team aims for a $100,000 goal to cover all the costs. If successful, the pilot project will launch in March 2015.