2010 - Medellin, CO

LluviaViva

Rainwater harvesting system for low-income families

Designing a rain water harvesting system for low-income communities in Medellín. Aiming to reduce earth-slide risks caused by poor rainwater management, as well as decrease illegal water usage from informal settlements.

Cover image by Nestor Morales via Unsplash
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A view of the illegal settlements located on the mountain skirts in Medellin, Colombia
CHALLENGE & RESULT

Designing a rain water harvesting system for low-income communities in Medellín.

In densely populated areas of Medellín Colombia people build their homes with any material available, from plastic bags to tree branches and used bricks; rainwater is not properly managed, which results on earth-slides during rain seasons. The challenge of the project was to develop a rainwater harvesting system for these communities, which would allow them to properly manage rain water while using the resource for house chores. 

The result is LluviaViva, a rain water harvesting system that can be built with simple, available materials by the communities with the instructions of municipality programs. The system collects, filters and store water to be used in daily household activities.

Lluviaviva_Concept complete
A 3D model of the rain water harvesting system
THE APPROACH

Human centred design

The project folllowed IDEO's design thinking methodology: Hear, Create, Deliver.

Hear: Understanding water usage at home

By conducting in context interviews, observations and creative sessions with community members, governmental institutions, schools and eco promoting companies, It was possible to establish the social and technical implications for the product as well as how it could be implemented through development plans from the municipality.

Conducting design research in different neighborhoods of Medellín: understanding water usage, the context and the communitiy motivations.
Create: designing a rainwater harvesting system that fits the lifestyle in Medellin's settlements

The product developed – LluviaViva – is a system that people in the community can build on their own by using their skills and available materials. It includes a sieve, a filter a tank and a pump to harvest, clean and distribute rainwater for house chores.

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LluviaViva prototype
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User testing
Deliver: creating a product that fits the city's development plans and can be implemented through social programs

The product can be introduced during weekend workshops conducted by the public organisations, which already take place in the areas. These workshops are about subjects like education, safety and resource management. Because people in this communities have construction skills a DIY manual was designed to instruct them to build the system and maintain it.

Lluviaviva-Stakeholders
Overview of the different actors
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Want to know more?

Drop me a line! I am always happy to chat over coffee - and cake.
mhocki@gmail.com
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Maria Hock - 2018