Thursday, November 19, 2015

URSP Student Ingrid Davis-Colato Integrates Rainwater Harvesting Systems for Domestic Use in the United States and Developing Countries

I came up with this idea about Rainwater Harvesting System last year. When my professor of Economic Engineering assigned a resource paper about a cost-effective project which had to be related with any topic of Engineering. That same semester I was taking CEIE 340 Water Resource, my professor Dr. Ferreira seems to be a great resources for ideas, so I decide to do my project about water. I started to research different ideas and I read an article about cost-effective rainwater harvesting system. I liked the idea of recycling water. The general idea of rainwater harvesting is to collect the rainwater from the events that happen in the wet seasons, so that water will not become run off, but recyclable water that citizen would be able to reuse.

I wrote my paper and I got excited about taking action in solving a huge problem as a scarcity of water. Months later, a tropical storm hit El Salvador (my home country) causing floods in many different areas of the country and also flooding mains streets in San Salvador (Capital of El Salvador). Just three weeks after the tropical storm passed El Salvador, I read in some Salvadorian news that some suburbs were complaining about having no potable water for over 10 days. I realized that all the rainwater of the tropical storm was wasted by no reusing it. Last semester Dr. Maggioni mentioned the Oscar Program/Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) and how students could spend more time researching about their ideas. This program is an excellent opportunity for my professional development as I am currently pursuing an Accelerated Masters in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, with a concentration in Environmental and Water Resources. Furthermore, Dr. Maggioni became my mentor in this amazing opportunity to make rainwater harvesting systems a possibility to implement in the USA and developing countries can become one more step to solve water scarcity around the world.

On a weekly basis I spend my time researching data from California and El Salvador. Last week I finally finished to collect all the necessary data that I need to start my designing phase. This week I learned that California’s rainfall is very different that El Salvador’s rainfall, but both have some similarities in the last 5 years. These next weeks I will be designing the different parts of the rainwater harvesting systems such as roof catchments and cisterns. Each part will be customized base on the collected data.  The expecting outcome is designing Rainwater harvesting system that can be implement in residential houses and in commercial building that will be able of satisfying the domestic water demand in areas with water scarcity in as effective and affordable solution.