The EWB Domestic project works with communities in the greater Madison area to implement various environmental and civil engineering projects to better our neighbors' lives. Currently, Engineers Without Borders Domestic Chapter’s project ha partnered with another student org, Edible Landscapes, to design a pergola to catch rainwater and aquablox to store the water. Edible Landscapes recently built several box vegetable gardens in the lakeshore area near the tennis courts. These gardens are open to anyone who wants to plant or harvest the vegetables. They came to EWB Domestic with the problem that they don’t have a convenient way to water their garden, as they currently have to carry a long hose out to reach the plants. EWB Domestic’s plan to help is to build a system involving a pergola to catch the water and aquablox to store the water. This way, students using the vegetable gardens will be able to conveniently pump the water right on location. The pergola will provide an environmentally friendly way to water the vegetables. Additionally, the pergola itself will be able to hold fruit and vegetables that grow on vines such as squash or watermelon.
For the pergola, we have determined what materials it will be made from, an estimate on prices, and created a solidworks model of it. We will be able to have someone from the professional chapter look at to review it from a structural and design standpoint soon. For the water storage, we are planning on having it stored in a tank enclosed in a bench. However, this design is still in the works as we have two possible options we are still investigating. We are also still trying to figure out how the water will be distributed.
As far as the our project being approved goes, the idea was presented to the housing committee. They seemed very interested in our idea and are asking lots of questions. We are working on figuring out if our funding will still be available to us since we now have a different project. We are also looking into other options if that doesn't work out.
EWB Domestic group is currently in a phase of coming up with a preliminary design and working on getting the project approved with the university. For the meeting after our kickoff, we went on a field trip to our site on lakeshore to get acquainted with the area where we are planning on building our pergola and aquablox. We also measured the dimensions of the gardens to try and determine how much water will be required. During the meetings after the site visit, the group broke off into three subgroups: pergola, aquablox, and approvals. The pergola and aquablox groups are working on the engineering side of the project (how the pergola will be designed and how to store and distribute the water) and trying to come up with a rough estimate of the budget needed. The approvals group is working on all of the papers and presentations required to get the project approved with the university and brainstorming ideas to get the university interested.