“There is a lot of brown going on in rural Nicaragua”. In Pedro Arauz, Nicaragua a great deal of one's day is spent pumping water by hand and transporting it from the well to where it is needed. Two local families have taken the unusual step of automating the drawing of water; one with a simple windmill and the other with a basic pump rigged to a small diesel generator. The impact on those two families is incredible. In the dry season, most farms are dusty plots inhabited by a few dehydrated cattle; many of which will die in the heat. However, these two families enjoy a green oasis of fruits, vegetables, and banana trees, under which you will find healthy, well hydrated cattle.
In February of 2014, John Shoust and Rob Scott were in a rural part of Nicaragua on a volunteer trip where they witnessed the huge impact that water for irrigation has on the lives of the local people. While there, John came up with the idea to design a windmill that can be built from locally sourced materials for a cost significantly lower than imported windmills.
John and Rob sat down with Rob's brother, Wayne, a retired director from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and noted water expert. Together they flushed out an idea to collaborate with a respected engineering program from a Canadian university to provide the design. After consulting with several faculty leaders, the University of Toronto was selected as the strategic partner. Amy Bilton, PhD, Assistant Professor in University of Toronto’s faculty of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering stepped forward to lead a capstone project with a team of fourth year engineering students.
The capstone project is now in its fourth year. The Winds of Change CapStone projects have won the design competition for the SECOND year in a row! Out of approximately 50 teams they came out on top to take home the prize.
These teams not only designed / created Windmill and Irrigation solutions but they also implemented them live in our community of Pedro Arauz , Nicaragua this past February truly giving back and helping improve the lives of families.
A special thanks to professor Amy Bilton for leading these students to success and mentoring them throughout the years.