Student Design

Global Water Stewardship strives to develop long term wastewater solutions utilizing the creativity and ingenuity of students from multiple universities and student chapters. This is accomplished by partnering with CSWEA and WEF to host an annual student design competition.

Each Fall, GWS develops a problem statement for a unique Costa Rican community. Participating student teams are asked to design a solution which generally involves construction of a centralized treatment system with a complete collection system. It must be a low cost, low maintenance solution that is viable for the chosen community to sustain and operate. Any student group can enter, with a usual Spring deadline.

Thus far, GWS has received teams from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, University of Wisconsin – Platteville, and Milwaukee School of Engineering. Some students take on the project on their own, while some schools allow students to develop a design as part of a course that would receive credits. This improves student participation considerably and offers GWS a wide variety of solutions to choose from for implementation. Our professionals mentor the students as they engineer innovative solutions and present their solution at the Design Competition held each Spring at the CSWEA Education Seminar.

GWS judges student presentations and selects a winning design based on which best addresses the sanitation needs of the chosen community. The students remain involved by helping GWS professionals to finalize design and associated operation and maintenance estimates. The team is invited to join GWS during its August trip to Costa Rica. There, they have the opportunity to share their design directly with the community and get first-hand experiences of the people and places they are affecting.

GWS continues to work with the Ministry of Water (AyA), local water authority (ASADA) and local NGOs and municipal leaders to implement designs. Use of the Costa Rican labor programs allows for inexpensive construction and GWS professionals remain involved to assist with startup and operations training of the systems.

Visit the competition website to learn about the current competition, view past winners and read this year’s problem statement.