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The Texas Water Ninjas are a group of Environmental, Hydrogeology and Geology students who found their common ground through their interest in biomimicry and water conservation. Driven to put our ideas into motion, each team member brings with them a rich and diverse community and acknowledges that our networks are our greatest assets. Though we are a group of scientists, each of us bring outside learning experiences in business, marketing, 3D design and communication, and see this innovative project as a learning opportunity, and means to gain experience in doing what we are passionate about. With rapid population growth comes the rapid depletion of resources, and, in Austin, Texas these resources include groundwater from regional aquifers and surface water in the form of streams and lakes. We used a biomimetic approach to conceptualize the HydroTree as a solution to alleviate resource stress through an alternative form of collection.
The HydroTree is a freestanding structure that will condense and catch water for various domestic and agricultural uses. Moisture from the air will condense on the surface of the petals, optimizing the process through high surface-to-air temperature contrast and orientation to wind direction, while minimizing loss to evaporation. The HydroTree also collects rain and can be enhanced to maximize rainwater collection. Collection of condensation is a viable option for water consumption for individuals concerned about their carbon footprint, and encourages the concept of creating a healthy urban ecosystem through diversifying the means of collection, and by dispersing collection sites for resilience. The HydroTree can be competitively compared to water barrel collection devices. The HydroTree is a site specific design, meaning its shape and size can be altered to optimize condensation in different environments.
Our design is an alternative to traditional sources of water and traditional notions of resource allocation and availability. This project has the potential to challenge the current stigmas about personal water collection, and to move the conversation towards acceptance and eventually widespread utilization of alternative sources of water.