'Water We Doing?' Reykjavik Harbor


More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. Only 2.5% of the Earth’s water is freshwater, of which 68% is inaccessible. As a result, we are seeing a rapidly changing landscape as countries that were once wet become arid and companies attempt to privatize this resource.

Water scarcity impacts all aspects of life, including agriculture, sanitation and health. We are beginning to see an increase of people fleeing their countries for better resources and escaping potential ‘water wars.’

Our research lead us to find that 70% of global freshwater is used for food production. So while taking shorter showers will certainly conserve water, we wanted to look at where the biggest impact can be made. In Iceland, food production is comprised largely of the fishing industry and makes up over 1/3 of Iceland’s exports. We learned that the water usage in Icelandic fisheries is currently unmonitored (new regulations will be put in place in 2016 to address this.) We also learned that Icelandic fisheries use approximately twice as much water to process fish as other Scandinavian countries, of which roughly 70% is used to clean the facilities. 

While Iceland currently has the most renewable water per capita in the world, that shouldn’t excuse excessive and unsustainable water use. So how might we help address this situation, and bring it to light to those who are stakeholders in this area? One might ask ‘Water we doing?’




Future Scenario


The Reykjavík Harbor is home to Sjávarklasinn, or the Ocean Cluster House. This is mixed use space that is home to a wide array of companies whose business ties directly to the local fishing industry.

As a method of prompting conversation about water usage amongst the stakeholders in Sjávarklasinn, we proposed a scenario wherein the water pipelines would be elevated above ground. By increasing awareness of where our water is coming from and where it is going, we can change the way we think about and treat this valuable resource.


As a conversation prompt around the topic of water conservation, we built a 1:1000 scale model of the Reykjavík Harbor, re-imagining the current underground water pipelines as an above-ground system. We then presented the model, along with our research, to a group of employees at Sjávarklasinn.



Christian Poulsen

Eusun Pak

Sinéad McCarron

Sölvi Kristjánsson



Hlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir

Massimo Santanicchia

Thomas Edouard Pausz