Rainwater Systems and Water Rebate Outreach:
In 2011/2012 IDEASS students initiated a project that focused on the promotion and installation of prototypes of a rainwater-to-toilet system designed by a local engineer. The project was extended into 2012/2013 and students continue to install prototypes and collect data on system performance. Because rainwater is still classified as stormwater, rainwater-to-toilet systems have yet to be assigned or to align with building code specifications. As a result the project also involves significant policy work. Students working with Ron Duncan from the Soquel Creek Water District understand the need to design and conduct surveys, interviews and neighborhood meetings to learn about people’s motivations to save water and the kind of modifications they would be interested in investing in. The District currently offers a wide variety of rebates for water saving devices, but is not doing a good job of marketing, and is therefore seeing little participation. They hope that if they understand water users better, they will see enhanced participation.
Another potential component involves building a sensor and accompanying website or mobile app to monitor water storage in rainwater systems. This would make it possible for the user to understand how much water has been saved by the system, as well as know when rainwater is running low.