Coventry student’s design project tackles water transport in Africa

Thursday 26 April 2012

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A final year Transport Design student from Coventry University has created an innovative final year degree project looking at how transport can play a key role in providing portable drinking water to communities in rural Africa.

Umair Uddin Qazi, 26, from Leicester, came up with the idea for his Degree Show 2012 project after being inspired by a previous Coventry University graduate who designed a rescue vehicle for floods that hit Pakistan.

Umair is actively involved with charity organisations such as UNICEF, so access to safe, clean water is a subject of great concern to him. As a result, he feels designers have a responsibility to create products that can really help to improve people’s lives by addressing this type of global issue.

Water trucking is common in some parts of the world but is an expensive method of delivering water. What makes this delivery system different is that it is specifically designed for this purpose. The project centres on an electrically propelled vehicle that relies on solar energy for its operation and so is both sustainable and cost effective.

Another important feature of the vehicle is a filtration and purification system that makes sure the water is safe to drink. It will also be equipped with basic medical aid as this is something most rural communities also lack.

Umair previously worked on a project which looked at updating the UK’s canal network as a means of providing an alternative public transport network for inner city commuters, in an effort to reduce rush hour traffic.

Umair, who studies on the University’s BA (Hons) Transport Design course, said:

This is an important global problem that affects millions of people and is a cause close to my heart. Therefore I was keen to take on a practical challenge for my final project that has real world potential and made best use of the skills I have gained during my time at Coventry University.

This project also links in with the University’s Grand Challenge Initiative (GCI) in Sustainable Agriculture and Food. The GCIs represent key global issues that have been identified as areas where applied research is needed and where Coventry University’s expertise can have a significant impact.

Dr Julia Wright, deputy director of the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security at Coventry University, said:

It is very encouraging to see students embracing key global issues and using them to produce challenging and innovative final projects. Ensuring access to food and safe water is a major concern across the world and central to the University’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and food.

The Coventry University Industrial Design Degree Show will be held in the Maurice Foss Building on Cox Street, city centre.  Entry is free and will be open to the public from Saturday 2nd – Sunday 10th June 2012.