Middle school and high school students from the First Coast area brought over 30 working model water towers to the Engineering Building at the University of North Florida on Saturday, October 19 for the annual Florida Section American Water Works Association Model Water Tower Competition.
These young students, possibly our future water engineers, showed lots of ingenuity and creativity in their designs. The students also had to complete their own construction of the water towers. The towers had to function properly, allowing sufficient water storage time and flow. Calculations were checked, and the towers were actually tested by flowing water through them to ensure hydraulic efficiency.
Water towers had to meet strict design standards for size, tank functionality, volume, and structure stability. In addition, towers were tested for hydraulic efficiency.
Volunteers from local utilities, contractors and engineering firms helped to organize the event. Judges based their scoring on factors including construction, imagination and artistic design.
Students were able to enter another competition through a "scavenger hunt" where they had to interview each of the judges with questions about why they entered the water field, and how long they have worked for their company or agency.
Creativity was evident in the water tower designs, which ranged from polar bear caves to spaceships and robots.
Christopher Brown, Ph.D., P.E. of UNF's School of Engineering noted the purpose of the competition is to get kids interested in engineering for the water and utility field. Engineering is not just sitting in a cubicle crunching numbers--it's designing and building critical facilities that we use in our everyday life.