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Every day, 1,440 children under the age of five die from water-based diseases. In Ethiopia alone, 58 percent do not have access to clean water. These numbers are gradually increasing as the Horn of Africa faces water shortages and poor sanitation. Arturo Vittori and Andreas Vogler, both architects, recently devised a solution to alleviate Ethiopia’s sanitation and water crisis.

Six hours each day is the estimated duration of a woman and child’s journey to collect water. This process endangers children by exposing them to harsh climates and removing them from school. Every day a child goes to collect water is a day taken away from school, guaranteeing that the poverty cycle repeats.

Vittori and Vogler’s solution, named WarkaWater, is a bamboo structure that harvests potable water. This revolutionary device collects condensation droplets, which flow through micro-tunnels that lead to a basin at the bottom of the WarkaWater tower. An estimated 25 gallons of potable water can be gathered by the towers each day.

“WarkaWater is designed to provide clean water as well as ensure long-term environmental, financial and social sustainability,” Vittori said.

WarkaWater towers are not made using industrial materials. Vittori believes that locally produced materials will contribute to a better success rate of the WarkaWater towers. These 30-foot tall towers are constructed from local bamboo, rope, wire and fabric. “Once locals have the necessary know how, they will be able to teach other villages and communities to build the WarkaWater towers.”

“Rather than giving money, we want to inspire people to create their own visions and make them reality,” Vogler said. “We believe the fastest way to do this is to build and test an idea fairly quickly and at a low cost.”

WarkaWater towers will eliminate the time Ethiopians spend on retrieving water. This time can be used to improve Ethiopia’s prosperity, ultimately eliminating poverty in this area.

– Natarsha Towner

Sources: Inhabitat, Smithsonian Magazine, UNICEF
Photo: Techno Crazed