They referred to it as “Majik Water”. Yes, it is magical, but above all, it is life-saving water harvesting. Cooking up the magical water is Kenyan trailblazer Beth Koigi and her friends – Clare Sewell and Anastasia Kaschenko. If you think these are the true wonder-women of the world, you are absolutely right. As if their lives were scripted, the trio met in Silicon Valley at the Global Solutions Program at Singularity. They found a solution to Kenya’s water problems in the most unlikely of places: air.
To the layperson, air is a vast expanse of nothingness waiting to be filled with matter. To Koigi and her team, air was an uncharted frontier which held the key to quenching the thirst of thousands, if not millions. According to the Majik Water website, “There is 6x as much water in the air as in all rivers in the world.” As if that is not a mind-blowing fact on its own, Majik Water makes the ingenious conclusion, “If you have air you can have clean, safe drinking water.” They aptly named their company Majik Water taking Swahili word maji (water) and borrowing a k from kuna (harvest). Their initial prototype can harvest 10 liters of water per day using solar technology.
Majik Water has won the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum Tech Entrepreneur Award, the EDF Pulse Award, Oxford Innovation Fair Award, and MIT Water Innovation Award. It is a very long list for a company just starting out. As if this is not enough success, Majik Water is up for the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa prize. The company’s biggest victory is its success in providing an answer to the problem of water shortage which is expected to affect 1.8 billion people by 2025. There is no award that could best such a feat.
Particularly interesting is how Beth has only adapted an idea ancient communities were all too aware of. She says, “This concept of harvesting water from air is not entirely new as ancient communities including Africans and Kenyans have used it to harvest dew.” However, in their 21st-century adaptation, Majik Water uses desiccants such as silica gels to absorb water from the air. These are then heated to release the water which is collected.