Water: It’s one of the most precious resources on Earth, but its importance seems forgotten in the western world where its ease of access is often instantaneous. But for 768 million people worldwide, it’s a daily struggle to find safe water, and in result, 1,400 children under the age of five die from water-based diseases every day.
Hence, the creation of “WarkaWater”. Vittori shared, “[this] is designed to provide clean water as well as ensure long-term environmental, financial, and social sustainability. Once locals have the necessary know how, they will be able to teach other villages and communities to build the WarkaWater towers.” Each tower costs approximately $550 and can be built in under a week with a four-person team and locally available materials.
Digging a well might seem a more obvious solution, but that requires drilling 1,500 feet into Ethiopia’s rocky plateaus, and can be very expensive. After a well is dug, pumps and a reliable electrical connection must also be maintained – making it an unlikely proposition.
How did such an invention come to exist? Vittori was inspired by the giant, gravity-defying, and dome-shaped Warka tree which is native to Ethiopia, sprouts figs, and is used as a community gathering space. “To make people independent, especially in such a rural context it’s synonymous of a sustainable project and guaranties the longevity,” says Vittori. “Using natural fibers helps the tower to be integrated with the landscape both visually with the natural context as well as with local traditional techniques.”