Exploring Water Conservation through Design and Rainharvesting
Background: This case study focuses on a comprehensive project undertaken as part of an Industrial Design Bachelor's thesis at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. The project, inspired by a philosophy of problem-solving inherited from a journeyman auto electrician father, delves into the realms of design as a modification tool and invention to address contemporary issues like irresponsible consumption and the increasing demand for urban agriculture water.
Objective: The primary goal was to explore water conservation strategies, particularly through rainharvesting, to address the challenges posed by seasonal water scarcity in Vancouver and the inefficient water usage in urban agriculture practices. The project aimed to finish what was started, proving personal capability and striving towards solving larger problems for sustainable living.
Research Insights:
Irresponsible Consumption: Highlighted by Ezio Manzini and Tim Cooper, the throwaway culture significantly contributes to unsustainable resource depletion, underlining the necessity for conservation-focused design.
Increasing Urban Agriculture Demand: With Vancouver experiencing a months-long dry spells and heat domes and forest fires everywhere in summer, the project identified a critical need to conserve winter rainwater for garden irrigation and food production, presenting an opportunity for rainharvesting to conserve chemical-free, pure rainwater.
Design Philosophy: Grounded in the belief that anyone who reconfigures a problem is a designer, the project sought to embody this through practical solutions to water scarcity and inefficient use.
Methodology: The project employed a variety of research methods, including exploratory research, qualitative investigations, interviews, and participatory research. Initial directions focused on auditing water usage at Emily Carr University, leading to insights on departmental inefficiencies and the potential for hardware and behavioral changes to reduce water wastage. 
Challenges and Opportunities: The project faced several obstacles, including legislative issues surrounding rainharvesting but despite these hurdles, it uncovered significant opportunities for water conservation in Vancouver's high rainfall context and the practical benefits of rainharvesting for urban agriculture.
Behavioral and Equipment Changes in the context of Emily Carr university. Suggestions include using more efficient water dispensing hardware in all arras of the school where there are high wash areas like ceramics and painting areas.
Technology and Infrastructure Improvements: Installing reverse osmosis machines in the school for drinking water and rain collection tanks could significantly enhance water conservation efforts and reuse within when filtered for non potable use in bathrooms and wash areas. Growing food in areas around the school with grow lights and using rainwater for irrigation would have benefits. Unused spaces around the school could be used for these sorts of experiments.
Regular Metering: More frequent water metering could help in identifying consumption trends and areas for improvement.
Conclusion: The project underscores the importance of viewing water conservation and rain harvesting not as luxuries but as essential practices for sustainability. While institutional red tape presented challenges, shifting focus to rain harvesting methodologies offered a new pathway to contribute to water conservation efforts, demonstrating the potential impact of design and innovation in addressing environmental challenges.

Below is a prototype of a kinetic rain harvester in the spirit of making the mundane more interesting by highlighting the gifts from above by opening petals and closing hands capturing water from the heavens

Rainharvesters setup in Sole Food Gardens in Vancouver

Another rain harvester in a community garden in Vancouver

A proud moment for a nice guy!