By Kathleen Knight

This week has been a lot for us! As in the spirit of the usual 9th-week sprint to the finish line (well, actually more like a painful crawl), we’ve been busy with balancing completing our projects and the craziness that is the UCLA quarter system. Last week, we met with representatives from the Rain Harvest Systems company and discussed specific project parameters. This week at our weekly Tuesday team meeting, we spread out the various plans that Cayla was able to obtain from Capital Programs and got to work beginning to analyze the specifics of Parking Structure 9. We mapped out the roof drains and connecting pipes, as well as reviewed our potential options for cisterns inside the space. We looked at multiple 3,000-gallon cisterns and 4,100-gallon cisterns, and have decided on designing our project around having seven–4,100-gallon cisterns for a total of 28,700-gallon total system.

On Thursday, Manali and Cayla met with Tom, who has been helping us out a lot in terms of project specifics. Our next step is to design the project specifics– plumbing, system design, rough budgeting, and various engineering aspects. We definitely have our work cut out for us. We’re currently planning on meeting with the UCLA Head Gardener to discuss irrigation potentials for the greenbelt that surrounds Parking Structure 9, as well as meeting with Environmental Health and Safety in order to determine what water quality standards we’ll need to meet in order to use the collected storm water for local irrigation.

Overall, the team is feeling slightly overwhelmed, not necessarily just by the amount of work that has to be done, but also by the number of steps we have at each level of planning. I think the most difficult thing our team has faced is the realization that we have to contact and connect with so many different people in order to complete just one small facet of the project. It’s definitely turning out to be a group effort– not just on our end, but in terms of involving many different people from UCLA. We’re looking forward to the challenge though! It’s been a great learning experience for the team and for as difficult as our project can be at times, it has also been a lot of fun.