World Water Day may have come and gone, but the importance of preserving water remains. There are some amazingly innovative ways to harvest water out there, like this award-winning Chaac Ha Water Collector designed by students in the Yucatan region of Southern Mexico. This portable water harvesting concept can collect both dew and rain, accumulating 2.5 liters of water each night from dew alone. The idea behind the design was to provide consistent, clean water to rural Mexican communities where access is limited.

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The Chaac Ha design, named after the Mayan god of rain, was inspired by observing natural processes. The form and material of the membrane that captures the water, for example, mirrors the way in which bromeliads derive moisture and nutrients from the air. As bromeliad leaves are hydrophobic, their microscopic irregularities encourage water to channel into a single reservoir. In the Chaac Ha design, Teflon is used to create the same effect. The structure of the design takes inspiration from a spiderweb and is collapsible for full portability.

Using state of the art software from 3D design and engineering software company Autodesk, the Chaac Ha system was recognized with the Autodesk Sustainability Workshop award last year. Students rewarded for their work were Diana Carolina Vega Basto, Luis Didier Cox Tamay, Andy Francisco Arjona Massa, Cindy Beatriz, Shirley Molina, and Álvaro Jesús Buenfil Ovando, from the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida.

+ Chaac Ha Water Collector