Document Type

Restricted Campus Only

Publication Date



The South Texas Human Rights Center (STHRC) has identified a need to implement portable emergency water stations along the Mexico-Texas border in order to provide much-needed water to refugees and migrants who face critical levels of dehydration when crossing the border. These stations must be resistant to harsh weather conditions, capable of sustaining load without structural damage, and able to accurately measure and relay the amount of water remaining back to the STHRC, so refills can be provided as needed.

This year’s project aims to address the problem of station portability through a redesign of the water station. Volunteers who set up the previous version of the Emergency Water Station 3.0 have found the stations to be bulky and difficult to transport. Given this problem, the overall project objective is to make the base modular, easy to transport, and easy to assemble. In addition, the secondary objectives include debugging the electronics subsystem and relocating the LED switch to a more accessible location for the volunteers.

The design constraints identified for this project include the base must hold 18 water jugs, hold and protect all electrical components required for data transmission, withstand the harsh weather conditions of the Mexico-Texas border, and it must be able to be constructed in 30 minutes by 2 trained personnel. We also had a time constraint of 2 semesters and had a budget of $1200.

To accomplish our objectives we have adjusted the previous design to include a slotting mechanism for the interior ramp structure and angle brackets to reinforce the main outer structure. These improvements allow the station to be disassembled into portable sheets and reassembled at new locations. In addition to the structural improvements, we have replaced most of the electronic components, debugged the communications system and added a switch for the LED at the bottom of the flagpole.

The new structure has passed several tests including a static load test, water jug storage test, and assembly test. The results of these tests indicate the water station should withstand all environmental stresses and be fully operational when placed on the Mexico-Texas border. Additionally, we required our electronics system to be IP55 compliant as outlined in IEC Code 60529. After conducting the test outlined in this code, we found our electronics system to be IP55 compliant. We required our new structure to assemblable in 30 mins or less by 2 trained personnel. During our assembly test we found 2 unfamiliar volunteers were able to assemble the structure in 31 minutes. We have since revised our instruction manual and are confident that upon their next attempt, the structure could be assembled in 30 minutes.

Based on our testing, our station meets all physical design constraints and project requirements. However, we have not completed the testing of the electronics system. However, the previous year was able to produce a working communication system, therefore we are confident we can recreate their system and produce the same results as them, which would prove our station is fully functional.


Dr. Mehran Aminian, Team Adviser