Warka Water: Collecting Water Out of Thin Air

According to the 2015 report of UNICEF, 663 million people around the globe struggle to find reliable sources of water to drink. Thousands of people including a huge percentage of children die from illnesses related to poor water quality. During the period 2000 to 2006, a total of 2163 water-related disasters were reported according to the the UN Water, UN agency in charge of fresh water. They caused the death of more than 290,000 people, and affected 1.5 billion others!

To help improve this dramatic situation, one solution is filtering. It is promoted by the “Water is Life” nonprofit that addresses the issues of clean water, sanitation and hygiene. The drinkable book (see Video 1) is among the most recent technologies they have deployed. This book printed in edible ink teaches safe water habits. The paper is made of a cheap nanoparticles-based filter paper capable of killing deadly waterborn diseases. A single book provides enough pages to allow filtering water for up to 4 years (each page lasts about 30 days).

Video 1: Drinkable Book

Filtering water solves only part of the problem of accessing fresh water. Indeed, many women and children daily walk miles carrying water in heavy containers. Of course many NGOs drill wells in villages. However, beside being expensive, a well is not always an option, especially in mountainous locations. A cheap alternative, environmentally, and socially sustainable solution is Warka Water.

Warka Water litterally provides water out of thin air (see Video 2). This vertical structure collects rain, harvests fog and dew. Warka Water is made of bamboo covered with a permeable mesh that allows air to pass, but captures water droplets. It relies only on natural phenomena such us gravity, condensation and evaporation. According to its designers it can provide up to 100 litres of clean water every day, for a construction cost less than $1000. The design of Warka Water went through different evolutions since its creation on 2012. Donations help support field tests and design improvement prior to large scale deployments by 2019.

Video 2: Warka Water

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