Water is required to sustain life, and people worldwide suffer from a lack of it. Nonprofit companies will travel to Africa from the West, hoping to help bring clean water to locals. Due to climate change expanding in this area of the Sahara desert, drying up Sub-Saharan water sources which have been in use for generations. With this year’s World Water Day showing the problem of clean water very real, this Kickstarter comes in the nick of time.
Warka Water draws it’s name from the Warka tree. Native to Western Africa, and provides not only food, but shade from the equatorial sun and a gathering place. This is the name chosen by designers and engineers trying to develop a piece of sustainable architecture which can be owned and operated by local villagers. Warka Water looks like a lotus of bamboo unfolding thirty three feet high, with a canopy on the lower portion. It is expected to average 24 gallons of clean water each day over the course of a year in dry, mountainous regions like those of Ethiopia.
Previous efforts to combat this rural African clean water shortage by drilling wells have been heavily critiqued in The Guardian. In a paper titled “Where every drop counts: tackling rural Africa’s clean water crisis,” Jamie Skinner, principal researcher on natural resources for the IIED writes “a failed well in sub-Saharan Africa is potentially catastrophic.” People who utilize these wells on a day to day basis lack the ability to repair the pumps, a process which requires specialized knowledge of industrial technology, as well as expensive tools and replacement parts. When a well fails, it’s often women and children who have to travel miles to the nearest well or stream.
The Warka Water clean water project is different.
Rather than requiring outside equipment to build and millions of dollars to create, each Warka Water tower takes a thousand dollars to produce and can be built with four people collaborating over the course of three hours. The technology was inspired by a technique for acquiring clean water with ropy fibers from banana plants.
The Ethiopian Institute of Architecture Building Construction and City Development is now using Kickstarter to fund the development of these towers, as well as funding the training of people to maintain them.
Only 6 days remain on the project, and the project has reached the halfway point in their funding. If the project doesn’t spread, it won’t reach it’s goal of creating sustainable water harvesting in Africa. Support the cause at Warka Water’s Kickstarter today!