Xylem’s Let’s Solve Water Challenge Pumps Up Students’ Imagination


What is the solution to building the most efficient water pump? That was the question over 100 high school students from Rochester, NY, recently tried to solve as part of the inaugural Let’s Solve Water Challenge sponsored by Xylem.

Xylem engineers kicked off the two-week competition that brought together Rochester Community Robotic teams from 8 local high schools and introduced them to the challenge of designing and building a water pump. A key element was the students could not use any commercial assemblies in their projects other than the motor and the battery case provided, and their total budget could not exceed $50.

The competition was judged in four categories with each winning team receiving $1,000. The four categories were:

  • Fastest fill for a 1 gallon container at 6" of head
  • Lowest average amps / gallon of water
  • Highest pressure (at 0 flow) generated
  • Most elegant design / presentation

"The goal for the Let s Solve Water Challenge was to engage with students, to get them excited about solving a water problem and provide them with the guidance and resources to use their science, technology, and engineering know-how," said Donna Lutter, manager communications at Xylem Applied Water Systems.

“The students gained real-world water engineering skills. They worked around design constraints, were able to discover trade-offs concerning energy efficiency, flow and pressure that working professionals encounter on a daily basis,” said John Maxwell with McQuaid Jesuit and coordinator of the Let’s Solve Water Challenge.

“The students’ eyes were opened wide to a whole new area of concern for water conservation and management. They saw the project as a way to play a part in building a low cost/low energy pump as a solution for water sustainability,” Maxwell added.

When the last drop of water was pumped and the students finished, the winners were:

  • Fastest Fill: FRC Team #3173 IgKNIGHTers (McQuaid Jesuit)
  • Most Efficient: FRC Team #1559 DevilTech (Victor Central Schools)
  • Highest Pressure: FRC Team #3003 TanX (Canandaigua Academy)
  • Most Elegant Design: FRC Team #1126 SparX (Webster Central School)

"As a leading global water technology company, Xylem is focused on addressing the world’s most challenging water issues, and we were extremely proud to be the sponsor of this event," Lutter added.

With the overwhelming success of this first-time competition, plans are being made to repeat the Xylem Let’s Solve Water Challenge next year in Rochester and perhaps additional marketplaces in the future.

Picture: Over 100 high school students from Rochester, NY, participated in the inaugural Let’s Solve Water Challenge sponsored by Xylem. The challenge was to build a low cost/low energy water pump with a battery case provided to them and on a total budget not exceed $50. Four winning teams were awarded $1,000.

Source: Xylem Inc.

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