Warka Towers: A Promise of Better, Cleaner Water for All

Many of the world's major underground water reserves are being depleted at an alarming rate and in many rural areas, access to clean water remains a significant challenge.


About 844 million people around the world still lack basic access to clean drinking water, as reported by UNICEF and the World Health Organization. This critical situation is further worsened by the fact that contaminated water serves as a breeding ground for waterborne diseases. Each year, about 1 million people die due to diarrheal illnesses linked to unsafe water, insufficient sanitation, and poor hygiene

Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the
Warka Water Tower project set out to design an innovative, sustainable, and community-centric solution. The project was founded in 2012 by Italian architect and artist Arturo Vittori. Arturo Vittori is known for his innovative and sustainable designs, and the Warka Water project represents one of his notable initiatives to address water scarcity and improve water accessibility in remote and challenging areas. 

The term 'Warka' comes from the
Warka Tree, a native and wild large fig tree found in Ethiopia. This tree holds significant symbolic importance as it plays an important role in the local ecosystem, and also serves as a gathering place. It also holds a spiritual significance, representing a place for prayer to God.

Warka Water Towers are innovative structures designed to harvest potable water from the atmosphere. The towers are inspired by nature's water collection methods, particularly the way certain plants capture dew and moisture. The outer framework of the towers resembles large, woven baskets and is constructed using locally sourced and biodegradable materials like bamboo to ensure minimal environmental impact. 

The primary function of WarkaWater Towers is to capture dew and moisture from the air as it passes through a mesh-like structure. The collected water then drips down to a storage chamber at the base of the tower, where it undergoes purification to make it suitable for drinking. The towers provide an off-grid and low-cost alternative to conventional water infrastructure, making them particularly relevant in regions where establishing traditional water supply systems is challenging.

The first 
Warka Tower pilot was constructed in 2015 in Dorze, a rural community in south Ethiopia. After this successful initiative, the “Warka Water Inc.”, a non-profit organisation, based in the USA was founded as a platform for other social actions.

Subsequently, the initiative expanded its reach with the construction of a second pilot project in Cameroon, specifically in the South Region, in 2019. The project selects locations with high levels of fog or humidity as these conditions are most suitable for the optimal functionality of Warka Towers.

The towers are designed to provide 40 to 80 litres of drinking water daily for the community, depending on weather conditions. They are built using local, natural and biodegradable materials like bamboo, wood, raffia palm leaves, dry straw, dry reeds etc and simple tools are used in the building of the towers so that they can be easily maintained by the local villagers without the need of scaffolding or electrical tools.
The tower not only addresses the fundamental need for water but also serves as a communal space, where people can gather for education and public meetings under the shade of its canopy.

An interesting part of the project is that it involves and empowers the local population. The initiative does not merely provide a solution but ensures that the local villagers can own and operate the towers, a key factor in the project's success. Each version of the Warka Tower shares the same design philosophy but differs in shape, geometry, and materials adopted, making it a versatile and adaptable solution.

The Warka Water project is like a bright light of innovation challenging traditional water supply systems. Warka Towers show how we can design things to last and make communities stronger. They're not just practical; they also promise a healthier future for communities facing water scarcity. From 2012 until now, the project has not just grown; it's become a symbol of hope, sustainability, and a shared commitment to ensure that everyone has access to clean water.

Written By:


Meghna is a highly motivated and experienced freelance content creator with a Master's degree in History and ongoing studies in International Relations from Amity University, Noida. Her commitment lies in making valuable contributions to discussions surrounding climate change and other challenging social concerns. With a strong background in research and writing, Meghna is adept at conducting research, synthesizing information, and creating compelling content that informs, educates, and engages her readers. She has contributed to several academic journals in the past, and her writing reflects a deep understanding of complex social problems and their potential solutions. Meghna's expertise in writing and research, combined with her strong work ethic and attention to detail, make her an asset to any organization or individual looking to create high-quality content that resonates with their target audience. In summary, Meghna is a talented and committed freelance content creator who bring

Leave A Comment