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Optimize water usage at Za'atari Camp, Jordan

In 2016, the United Nations and other charity organizations try to implement food and gardening programs in Za’atari camp, Jordan, how to help the residents to amplify the use of water for gardening purpose? How to utilize the scarce water resource to grow food and improve community environment?

Warm bed of disease

The lack of sewage system in Za’atari Camp causes grey water (and rain water during flood season) to flow freely on the mud ground in residential area. Some residents drain grey water in to open pit that mixes with garbage and waste water.

In 2014, Syria reported a growing epidemic of poliomyelitis, measles, and cholera due to bacteria and virus in sewage, water, and contaminated food.

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poor water management causes health risks

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Food gardening

Organizations like UNICEF has been helping Za’atari residents to establish gardening areas in the campus. Gardening can keep grey water disposal under control, provides psychological support for post war trauma, and grows extra food for residents in resource shortage scenarios.

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Design criteria

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What if refugee community can effectively collect rain water during flood season?

What if cleaning water can be saved or recycled for better use?

What if refugees can improve the living environment by properly managing gray water?


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Gather and Reuse

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Concept 1


Water storage planter than can be quickly installed on the exterior wall of shelter houses. Aquatic plant cleans water which eventually drips down to the soil ground below.


*improves environment in small scale

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Concept 2


Green house pavilion that purifies grey water and grow vegetation using condensation.


*requires community cooperation in maintaining the pavilion.

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Concept 3


Underground community water storage. Keeping grey water manageable and recyclable.


*infrastructure building that requires huge investment

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Concept 4


In first design, the channel was lifted to gather more rainfall, but it was out of user’s reach.  User can only access to the small disposal area in the front.

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Za’atari refugee camp, Jordan


Area 2,000 sq.mi.

Population 78,357 (2018)


The lack of green plants in a refugee camp affects residents’ emotionality. By improving their living environment,  it provides a sense of hope.

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