Water collection from the humidity contained in fog is a practice that has been used since ancient times but was rediscovered in recent years and developed by research centres in some of the most arid regions of the world, shrouded in thick fog for much of the year. As fog passes, water droplets form on a collecting mesh net and then fall into guttering which feeds a tank that is sheltered from heat and light.
This process inspired Italian architect and designer Arturo Vittori to create the first Warka Water tower in 2015 in the Dorze community of south-west Ethiopia. In the Amharic language, warka refers to the Ficus vasta Forssk. fig tree, an endemic variety from East African countries, that provides precious and generous shade for the local people.
The idea was to offer the community access to water that would not be costly, would have a low ecological impact and would be easy to build, while creating a social connection at a place that is essential for their daily life. The structure of the Warka Water tower is entirely made of bamboo and biosourced plastic. It is covered in an extremely thin netting that collects the humidity from the air during the coldest hours of the night. The water droplets run along the fibres and flow into an underground tank that can hold up to 100 litres of water per day.
La tour du jardinier des nuages (Tower of the Gardener in the Clouds) is a poetic portrayal of Arturo Vittori’s Warka Water tower as a garden.