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water filtration system


water filtration system

For small villages surrounding Lake Atitlán, malnutrition continues to be one of the biggest problems facing communities and daily life. Volunteers are helping locals to plant fruits, vegetables, herbs and grains to target specific nutrition issues. Currently, gardens are underwatered or plants are harmed when watered with unfiltered greywater.





In order to solve for a specific need, I partnered with Rising Minds, a non-profit organization located in Guatemala. Their main concerns centered around the underwatered gardens where specific vegetables are grown to target nutritional deficiencies. The need was clear: a greywater system that could be recreated on the ground, allowing communities to be self-sufficient. 

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water + NUTRITION research



Many overlook the paradoxical idea that normal or overweight individuals can be malnourished. This leads to a huge problem today described by Hester Vorster as “hidden hunger, a term used to indicate micronutrient deficiencies in apparently well-fed individuals.” Although Vorster used this term to describe a category of malnourished individuals in South Africa, ‘hidden hunger’ is prevalent throughout the world.  





Three main objectives needed to be tackled. Because most gardens were spread apart … These gardens, planted and maintained by the local community will provide fresh vegetables and herbs for educational programs while being part of a well-rounded diet. The harvests will also aid in lowering malnutrition rates among indigenous children and families. Communities are set in the hills around Lake Atitlán. Some gardens are centrally located, close to the town center, schools and shops. Most gardens, however, are shared between 6 or so families whose homes are spread apart.


ideation + testing



Initial testing for the grey water filter -- building a small-scale mockup and testing various types of dirty water with litmus tests. I also watered plants around the studio and monitored their overall health.  A simple mechanism was needed to move water from the greywater bucket to the clean water bucket through the filter. The power would be provided by the wheels via the movement of the cart. It was important that it could be easily replicated and repaired.





NEEDS MET: provides additional water for gardens, eliminates the need for water storage, maintains important social aspects, easily repaired and maintained, no electricity needed, can be used by all age groups


how the cart works



When the cart is in motion, water is drawn from the bottom of the grey water tank by the rear peristaltic pump. The rear pump is powered by the left wheel of the cart. The grey water is dripped into the top of the filter. Once it reaches the bottom and is filtered, the water is drawn into the clean water bucket. This is done through the second peristaltic pump, powered by the right wheel of the cart. The water can then be used to water the gardens.


how the system works



Six families can water the same communal garden and share equal responsibilities.


The family in house a will collect water from houses b-f, water the garden, and leave the cart at house b on the way back home. The next day, the family from house b will collect water from houses c-a, water the garden, and leave the cart at house c. And so on ....