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Travel – Africa

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Malcolm Holland

WARKA WATER

Ethiopia has the least access to clean drinking water among all African countries. Women and children from most villages have to travel many hours a day to collect water, which is oftentimes dirty and contaminated from being shared with livestock and other animals.

“Warka Water” is a solution designed by two Italian engineers and is based on a very simple principle. It traps water vapor from the air through condensation. Standing 9 meters (30 ft) tall, the framework is made out of bamboo and a special polyethylene fabric that collects water droplets. It weighs around 60 kilograms (130 lb) and can be put together by four people in a couple of hours without scaffolding. Each pillar can produce around 100 liters (26 gallons) of clean, fresh water a day from thin air with no effort at all.

The Ethiopian word warka refers to a wild fig tree native to the country. The warka tree symbolizes fertility and generosity and is commonly used for public gatherings and school classes.

The Warka Water project aims to be up and running in 2015 in some villages across the country. It stands as a simple, cheap, and elegant solution to solve a small part of a great problem.

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