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Students have an idea to fight drought. The award-winning project "Drop of the Garden"

Dobrawa Bies
16 of December '20

An urban garden with a rainwater harvesting gazebo is the idea of a team of students consisting of: Dorota Borowiecka, Basia Flur, Julia Mzyk, Marta Slipek and Damian Żak for a recreational space for residents, improving retention and fighting urban water shortages. They received an honorable mention in the Metropolitan Climathon 2020 for their project.

The MetropolitanClimathon has been organized for the past five years by EIT Climate-KIC and the Upper Silesian and Zagłębie Metropolis. It takes the form of a twenty-four-hour climate hackathon. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's event had a hybrid format, with urban drought as the main theme. Climate change is becoming more noticeable and water shortage problems more frequent. That's why water retention is becoming so important, and it was this topic that the participants of this year's hackathon decided to tackle. Within 24 hours they had to develop a solution to retain as much rainwater as possible in a given area. Additional tasks included preventing drought in the city, increasing recreational space for residents and enabling social integration.

Schemat projektowy

A gazebo with a roof that collects rainwater

© Dorota Borowiecka, Basia Flur, Julia Mzyk, Marta Ślipek, Damian Żak

every drop of water counts

Students from different universities joined forces to work on a project called "Drop of Garden." The project team included Dorota Borowieckia from Lodz University of Technology, Basia Flur working as a social opinion researcher, Julia Mzyk from Silesian University of Technology, Marta Slipek from Wroclaw University of Technology and Damian Zak from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. The result of their intensive work is the idea of building a gazebo surrounded by a garden. The roof of the structure would collect water, draining it into a reservoir underground. Thanks to a system of drains, the water would go to a distributor next to it, from which users would be able to draw it without hindrance. The project was prepared as a solution that could be implemented by city governments or local communities. The target was to be the Upper Silesian and Zagłębie Metropolis.

Dach altany zbiera
wodę deszczową

The roof of the gazebo collects rainwater

© Dorota Borowiecka, Basia Flur, Julia Mzyk, Marta Ślipek, Damian Żak

As Marta Ślipek, a third-year student of Management at the Faculty of Computer Science and Management at the Warsaw University of Technology, a member of the Climate Protection Section of the Environmental Team Scientific Circle, says about the awarded idea:

Initially, the idea originated as a solution to a problem for a friend of one of the project team members. People living in the city don't have many opportunities to take care of plants, contact with nature or other residents. We imagined that our garden could be a place where any "plant freak" could find himself, and thanks to its easy accessibility, he could take his friends or family there.We combined this with a solution to the lack of rainwater retention in metropolitan areas, added a technological aspect and connected the real world with the virtual one to make the initiative more attractive in the eyes of younger members of the local community.

Dystrybutor wody

rainwater distributor

© Dorota Borowiecka, Basia Flur, Julia Mzyk, Marta Slipek, Damian Żak

The water obtained in this way could be used for watering plants, surrounding lawns, or as a drinker for animals. The garden and gazebo would also be an excellent place for residents to relax and meet.

QR codes and plant caretakers

An app collecting key statistics on the use of the dispenser would be prepared specifically for the project. It would show, among other things, what the city's savings are thanks to storing water in the tank (it does not go into the sewer system and thus does not have to be "disposed of"), and find information on other gardens in the city, county or country.

Kody QR przypisane do

After downloading the code, the user can become the guardian of the selected plant

© Dorota Borowiecka, Basia Flur, Julia Mzyk, Marta Slipek, Damian Żak

An additional attraction would be QR codes attached to the plants growing in the garden. The user would download the code, scan it and assign a plant to it. He or she would then place a plaque with the code next to the plant, thus becoming its guardian.

Reading the QR code by another user would allow the user to get information about the plant, the amount of water used to take care of it and info about the plant's caretaker itself. Users could create events in the app and make appointments, and this would allow them to deepen social relationships. A ranking would also be created in the app. The most engaged users could earn points for using water and taking care of the garden. Later they could share their achievements on social media," explains Marta Slipek.

elaborated: Dobrawa Bies

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