Warka Water

The Warka’s water harvesting technique and construction system are inspired by several sources. Many plants and animals have developed unique micro- and nano-scale structural features on their surfaces that enable them to collect water from the air and survive in hostile environments. By studying the Namib beetle’s shell, lotus flower leaves, spider web threads and the integrated fog collection system in cactus, we are identifying specific materials and coatings that can enhance dew condensation and water flow and storage capabilities of the mesh. The termite hives have influenced the design of Warka’s outer shell, its airflow, shape and geometry. We also looked at local cultures and vernacular architecture, incorporating traditional Ethiopian basket-weaving techniques in Warka’s design.

How is it Made

WW version 3.1 is 33 ft (10 m) in height and 132 pounds (60 kg) in weight, consisting of 5 modules that are very easy to assemble, from top to bottom.
The outer frame structure, made with split bamboo elements, is structurally optimized for lightness and strength. The elegant design of the triangulated frame geometry offers both stability and robustness. The joints are made with metal pins and hemp ropes.
A network of ropes provides additional stability. The tension in the diagonal guy-wire, combined with the compressional strength of the bamboo structure, allows the tower to withstand strong winds. 8 fixation points are placed radially at 26 ft (8 m) distance from the WW base and are tightened with 8 polyester ropes, which are very low-stretch and ultraviolet resistant.
Inside the bamboo structure hangs the plastic Mesh that collects droplets of water from the high humidity in the air and the Collector where the dew condensation can happen at night.
A textile canopy around the WW bamboo structure creates a shaded area.


Below are the key details of Warka Water 3.1 :
Daily water collection: 13 to 26 gallons (50 to 100 L), annual average.
Water tank storage: 264 gallons (1000 L).
Construction: 4 days, 6 people (by hand, no electrical power machinery required).
Assembly: 3 hours, 4 people
Weight: 132 pounds (60 kg).
Materials: Bamboo, hemp, metal pins, bio-plastic.
Dimensions: Height 33 ft (10 m) – Footprint Ø 13 ft (4,2 m).
Surface Area: Mesh 262 sq ft (80 sq. m), Collector 141 sq ft (43 sq. m), Canopy 285 sq ft (87 sq. m).
Cost : ~ $1,000 (production in Ethiopia).
Maintenance : easy to be maintained, cleaned and repaired.


bamboo forest








Warka is realised with local and biodegradable materials such as bamboo, hemp and bio-plastic.




Construction Tools





















Warka is designed to be easily built and maintained by local villagers without scaffolding and electrical tools.





We are conducting researches on various subjects in the following fields:
– Water Harvesting and Collection
– Weather Monitoring Equipment
– Water Filtration Material and Technique
– Biodegradable Materials
– Natural Ventilation and Sun Path

Fog Harvesting


Dew CondensationDew Condensation

 Time-lapse footage of water condensation combined with data gatherd by Warkino
Time-lapse footage of water condensation combined with data gathered by Warkino
 Time-lapse footage of water condensation combined with data gatherd by Warkino
Time-lapse footage of water condensation combined with data gathered by Warkino


Warkino - weather monitoring and material surfaces temperature survey
Warkino – weather monitoring and material surfaces temperature survey
A meteorological station designed specifically for the development of the WW, Warkino enables us to study the water harvesting abilities of different types of materials under various climatic conditions. Warkino helps us to monitor the local environment (humidity, air pressure, temperature, winds, water collection, water quality, material surface temperatures). The Warkino is fundamental to launching a successful pilot and improving the water harvesting materials.

Tests & Experiments





Tests and research activities are conducted in a rural location in central Italy, with full-scale prototypes and materials. The ongoing daily experiments have brought new changes and updates to latest version, Warka Water 3.1. We are selecting potential sites in Ethiopia to launch the first pilot. The most important criteria for pilot are the lack of potable water and the urgent needs of the community for a solution. We will also assess other important factors relating to the local environment such as pressure, average temperatures, humidity, dew point and precipitation.  


Environmental Impact

Warka Water mainly uses local natural and biodegradable materials. It is a temporarily structure designed to not leave traces on the environment after removal and therefore doesn’t require excavation or ground modification works for set-up. The Warka doesn’t extract water from the ground. In addition to drinking water, the water generated by the Warka tower can be used for irrigation, reforestation, and ecosystem regeneration. As part of training local villagers, we plan to institute a water management program that teaches the best practices of using, distributing, and recycling harvested water. Through this program, we hope the villagers can understand our relationship with the environment and move away from the “slash-and-burn” agriculture, which is responsible for deforestation.

Long-Term Results

The Warka Water project is currently in development with first test pilots scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2015. We believe that installing the Warka tower in remote villages can lead to numerous impactful initiatives:
– Education: Women and children can engage in productive activities such as care, education and crafts that can lead to self-sufficiency
– Economy: Manufacturing the Warka tower locally and sourcing indigenous materials can create jobs and boost the local economy
– Society: The Warka tower’s canopy creates a gathering place for the community
– Agriculture: Water produced by the Warka tower can be used for irrigation and farming
– Environment: the water management training program can introduce the principles of permaculture
– Technology: Future developments include a shared internet connection point for rural villages, which can connect the isolated communities and bring valuable real-time information (e.g., weather forecast, market prices of crops)

Innovative Methodologies

Warka Water is designed for autonomous distribution and scaling. The tower can be easily built and maintained by the local communities using simple tools and 5 workers for 4 days. The tower can be also maintained without using special parts or heavy machinery. With training and guidance, the locals can easily build and maintain the Warka tower. This local know-how can then be transferred to surrounding communities, with villagers helping install other towers in the area and creating an economy based on the assembly and maintenance of the towers. This can expedite the scaling of Warka Water in the region. Following the prototype development and testing phases, we intend to start manufacturing the Warka on a large scale, which can bring the material’s cost down to $1000 per tower significantly less than other water relief options available.


As part of the Warka Water project, we will also plant a new Warka tree next to each Warka tower. The growth of the sapling will be supported by the water generated by the Warka towers as well as the dedicated team from the local community that maintains the tower. With time, the new tree will not only counterbalance the negative effects of increasing deforestation, but also will help create a better environment for the Warka tower to function. The humidity created by the tree will facilitate the water production of Warka Water.