Credit: Warka Water
Credit: Warka Water

The Italian architects Andrea Vogler and Arturo Vittori have designed a water collecting tower, able to collect up to 100 liters of fresh water per day.

Credit: Warka Water

The tower is 10 meters tall and weighs just 60 kilos. It is built by bamboo and plastics – the former to provide a skeleton structure for the latter to collect water particles in the air. The fabric keeps the water cold and water evaporation back into the air is low.

The idea came to them after having visited the mountainous East Africa, where the two architects saw women walk many kilometers each day to fetch water.

The tower is supposed to be owned and operated by the villagers collectively. This creates a social gathering place for education and public meetings.

The tower has been named by the Ethiopian wild Warka tree (Ficus Vasta). The tree is of great importance in culture and the ecosystem in Ethiopia.

Inspiration From a Beetle

Stenocara gracilipes. Image credit: Hans Hillewaert

The inspiration for the tower comes from a beetle in the Namib Desert, a beetle called Stenocara. The proximity to the Atlantic Ocean creates fog in the desert, which the beetle uses in an ingenious manner.

The beetle’s back consists of approximately 0.5 millimeters wide areas, some collect water, others repel water. The beetle is able to collect moisture from the air by collecting and capturing droplets of water and when the collection is large enough, it flows drop down the beetle’s back towards its mouth.

Inventors from around the world have been inspired by this evolutionary perfected technology of nature. A prototype of the Warka tower is now available in Dorze of southern Ethiopia.