It's not very often that science, nature and humanity all fit in together in the same puzzle, as mostly it's one up against the other. But this invention could solve the water problem and quench the thirst of millions of Africans by soaking up water from the atmosphere. And without adding to any sort of environmental pollution. The low-tech invention of Bamboo tower could solve the water woes as it is capable of producing up to 25 gallons of water in a day without electricity.
It's a well-known fact that millions of Africans struggle to find potable water and in several villages, people have to walk or struggle for 4 to 6 hours daily to find clean drinking water. Many of such unfortunate incidents have been captured by several documentaries and even mainstream Hollywood movies like The Gods Must be Crazy. With Africa's ever increasing population, currently at over 1.2 billion, the water crisis is only set to accelerate. Or may be not now.
Warka Water, a non-profit organisation has come up with the invention called Warka Water Tower, which is a cheaper, quick-to-assemble bamboo structure. The best part about the invention happens to be the fact that it's designed to harvest water out of 'thin air' that is atmosphere and without using electricity.
"Visiting small isolated communities up on the high plateau in the North East region of Ethiopia, in 2012, I witnessed this dramatic reality: the lack of potable water. The villagers live in a beautiful natural environment but often without running water, electricity, toilets. Ever since to bring safe water has become our mission and the project from the first concept has been developed and tested with several full-scale prototypes", said Arturo Vittori of Water Warka.
How it works
The easy to sustain bamboo structure relies on gravity, condensation and evaporation to harvest water out of the atmosphere. "The tower consists of a bamboo frame supporting a mesh polyester material inside. Rain, fog and dew condenses against the mesh and trickles down a funnel into a reservoir at the base of the structure. A fabric canopy shades the lower sections of the tower to prevent the collected water from evaporating," explains the project undertaken by Warka Water.
The structure is 30 foot tall and made out of easily available local, natural and biodegradable materials. The structure, because of its orange mesh-like and water-resistant inside, is able to collect fog from the atmosphere. The word Warka is inspired from the tree of Warka, a giant fig tree found in Ethiopia which is considered sacred because it provides shade and fruit.
The structures are not only environmentally sustainable and easily assembled but are also inexpensive as they cost only about a thousand dollars a piece. Since the materials required can also be sourced locally, that makes them sustainable in terms of availability too.