Ethiopia is getting a real-life moisture farm

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Addis Ababa, 14 April 2014 (WIC) - There was a time when a moisture farm was science fiction, reserved for desolate, fantastical places like Tatooine. Today, however, they’re very much a real thing: Architecture and Vision has created Warka Water, a 30-foot tall structure than can harvest as much as 25 gallons of water per day from thin air.
Unlike Uncle Owen’s farm, the good people of Ethiopia won’t need to buy an expensive droid that can speak the binary language of moisture vaporators to keep the Warka Water functioning. It’s a very simple device with no moving parts that’s easy to construct and can be deployed for around $550.
The towers are little more than nylon or polypropylene mesh that’s suspended inside a sturdy cage made of dried, interwoven rushes, bamboo, or any other suitable local material. Condensation forms on the mesh, and it eventually drips down into a collector at the bottom. Users simply turn a tap and let gravity do the rest.
Warka Water towers are capable of withstanding high winds yet still simple enough to construct that Architecture and Vision Labs believes villagers that help install a tower would be able to lead neighboring villages through the process on their own.
They’ve been working on the project for years. Lead designer Arturo Vittori came up with the idea after a trip to Ethiopia, and the first prototype was erected in 2012. It took six people just three days to build.
In a country like Ethiopia, it’s a much more elegant solution than a standard well. For starters, water is often hidden deep below the ground — as deep as 1,500 feet. That necessitates lengthy and expensive drilling, and local residents may still be required to travel great distances to fill vessels.
Vittori hopes that the first Warka Water towers will go up in 2015 — no doubt the people of Ethiopia are just as hopeful. (