Every restoration site with new plantings requires three seasons of watering after to give the plants a strong start. Anyone who has helped with watering during the dry months knows how time consuming this important job can be. The cost of water is also significant. Last summer the City of Bothell made hydrant water available to us, which would be a significant cost savings, but the hydrant can only be operated by Friends staff members. With very limited staff time, and generous volunteers lined up to water at times convenient to their schedules, we were not able to make use of the hydrant for watering. We would like to install a water tank that staff could fill from the hydrant, and then volunteers could water from. Ideally this tank could feed into a drip irrigation system that would allow for easier and more efficient watering, but the design of a system like this was beyond our current capacity. So when the UW-B Office of Community Based Learning and Research (CBLR) asked us if we had any projects that a team of senior Mechanical Engineering students could work on, we jumped at the opportunity!
The class, BME 481A: Citizen Engineer, is the first course in UW Bothell's Engineering Professional Development series. Its focus is on being an ethical engineer who is engaged with larger questions beyond engineering practice. Students worked in teams with a community partner on a local sustainable development project.
This fall we were fortunate enough to work with two teams who designed systems for both the upper and lower restoration areas. Each team met with us to understand our needs and limitations, toured the site, took measurements, met with the City of Bothell Engineer and Parks Director, and designed a system that would work for our site. Their designs addressed tank placement, water pressure, hose diameter, and fill times, and gave us a road map from which to pursue funding.
We hope to implement their great suggestions in 2016 and realize cost, water and time savings while we continue to take great care of the young plants on our restoration sites.
Bryan, Jake, Karinne, Luke, Jestoni, Minh, Spenser, Justin, Han & Case - thanks for your great work!
Each team's final report is posted here.