Lluvia Viva.

Designing a rain water harvesting system for low-income communities in Medellín. Aiming to reduce earth-slide risks caused by inadequate rainwater management, as well as decrease illegal water usage from informal settlements.
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Image credit: Milo Miloezger via Unsplash

ROLE

User Research

Industrail Design

LOCATION

Medellin, CO

2010

CASE SUMMARY

In low-income neighborhoods in Medellín Colombia people build their homes with unconventional materials like plastic bags, cardboard and old bricks; rainwater is not properly managed resulting earth-slides during rain seasons. The challenge was to develop a rainwater harvesting system for these communities, which would allow better channeling of rain water while proidning an extra 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 stores water to be used in daily household activities.

Immersing in the community to understand 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.

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Lluviaviva_Community leaders
Conducting design research in different neighborhoods of Medellín: understanding water usage, the context and the communitiy motivations.
A person in Medellin using Lluvia Viva to pump water
Testing the prototype.

Designing and testing 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 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.

Creating a product inline with the city's development plans to 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.

3D model and render of Lluvia Viva
Lluvia Viva system.
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