Collecting water thanks to plastics

One of the biggest issues in Africa is the lack of drinking water. Many countries, including Ethiopia, experience serious water shortages. Children and women usually spend hours to get to places where water is available, which prevent them from going to school or work.

Italian designer Arturo Vittori and Swiss architect Andreas Vogler joined forces and developed so-called WarkaWater Towers that are used to collect water from the air during the night, which can daily cater for the needs of a family of seven. The project costs are much lower than those implied by the construction of a well. Installing such towers in areas where water is a scarce resource is thus much easier.

WarkaWater Towers are  an ingenious solution to water scarcity, both financially and technically. Installing these towers is very simple and does not require any special tools or machinery. Five to six people are however required to do the job. As for costs, only 400 € are needed for implementation. This budget is indeed much lower than what would be required to drill a well with an extractor pump (which is estimated to 14,000 €).

©Architecture and Vision

The tower is made out of juncus stalks or bamboo woven together to form the tower’s vase-like frame.  Inside, a plastic mesh material made of nylon and polypropylene fibres act as micro tunnels for daily condensation.  As droplets form, they flow along the mesh pattern into the basin at the base of the towers. By collecting atmospheric water vapor in this way, it is estimated that at least 90 litres of potable water can be sustainably and hygienically harvested by the towers every day.

The name of WarkaWater Tower is inspired by the local Warka tree, a large fig tree native to Ethiopia that is commonly used as a community gathering space.  


Watch our slide show on plastic water applications and celebrate UN World Water Day on 22 March
Did you know ?
  • This pen with a water bottle shape is called B2P (From bottle to pen) and is made of 89% of plastic coming from recycled bottles of water.
  • © Pilot