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The South Texas Human Rights Center (STHRC) tasked our team, The Emergency Water Station 3.0 (3WS), with designing and implementing an emergency water station for migrants and refugees crossing the border between Mexico and Texas. The objectives of this project are to design, build, and test a prototype that can safely provide water to these migrants and refugees while communicating the water amount within the station back to the STHRC without hindrance due to weather or remote location. The following report outlines the features of our complete design, and details the primary functions of the main three subsystems that comprise the design. These subsystems include: the base structure, which holds the water and electronics/communication equipment, the electronics/communication system, which tallies and transmits water jug data to the STHRC, and the power system, which charges the station batteries and powers the electronic components. The final design is evaluated against the project constraints and requirements via subsystem and complete prototype testing.
The design constraints of our project include the allotted time, two full semesters, and a budget of $1200, given to us by the Trinity University Engineering Science department. The fully constructed design must also fit within a standard truck bed (78” x 64”) for easy transportation. This constraint was satisfied with the dimensions included in Table 3.1.A of this report. The budget remains under $1200, our team spent exactly $1044.33 this semester on the station design. This project is also completed within the time allotment of two semesters, therefore satisfying all project constraints.
The project requirements for our final design are outlined in Section 3. There are a total of eight requirements that need to be met, including the components that the water station is capable of housing. These components being 18 water gallon jugs, as flagpole, electronics system, as well as half the weight of the average adult human male. (Approx. 300 lbs. total). Our final prototype satisfied each part of this requirement, and had no deformation due to weight. Our design also satisfied the requirement of the operational cost for the communication system, which is $5 per month. Furthermore, we required that the primary components of the electronics/communications subsystem be at least IP55 compliant, as outlined by IEC Code 60529, which contributes to the weather resistance of our design. Each of these components is at least IP55 rated, some being up to IP68 compliant, which adds additional durability to adverse weather which is another requirement. The station must withstand an operational temperature of 20°F - 140°F, and a maximum wind speed of up to 40mph. Based on FEA simulations (seen in Section 3.8) and field tests, the wind speed requirement is satisfied. Although the components that make up our design are all capable of operating within the temperature range, our team was unable to directly test and prove this, as renting time in a 30’ tall thermal testing chamber is infeasible. The station also satisfies the requirement to report the total number of one gallon water jugs stored within the device at least once per day, to an accuracy of ±1 gallon jug. Furthermore, the station is required to be visible at night from at least one mile away, which was satisfied by attaching an LED strip to the top of our 25ft flagpole. Lastly, we detail two optional features which were not implemented in the final design: a phone charging system and additional storage compartments for items such as protein powder.
Overall, the Emergency Water Station team has designed, constructed, and implemented a fully functioning prototype. All of our constraints and requirements were met, with the exception of additional lab and field testing for the operational temperature requirement. There are no predicted changes that will be made in the future, but improvements can always be made.
Menezes, Winona; Reynolds, Elyse; Swallow, Robert; and Thweatt, Jacob, "Emergency Water Station 3.0 Final Project Report" (2022). Engineering Senior Design Reports. 51.