Seven students from Dublin and San Ramon were honored at Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) Board of Directors meeting for their award-winning projects at the Science and Engineering Fairs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The students, all from the DSRSD service area, were winners of theExcellence in Water Research award. The awards were created last year by water and wastewater agencies in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to recognize outstanding student projects in the world of water.
Sixty projects were considered for the Excellence in Water Research awards at the junior and senior levels in both fairs. “The judges were impressed by the students’ creativity in researching significant, real-world problems, and in their excellent workmanship,” said Sue Stephenson, community affairs supervisor at DSRSD.
Alameda County Science & Engineering Fair
In the Junior Division of the Alameda County Science & Engineering Fair, Connor Vergara, Konrad Keihl and Kavin Kasi were runners up for Excellence in Water Research awards. The students are sixth graders at Fallon Middle School in Dublin. Their team project, “Water Conservation in the Bay Area,” explored the best way to harvest water from the air, essentially from fog. Using zero energy and good solid engineering concepts that were innovative, doable and transferable, the students determined that a mesh net was most efficient at capturing water. All three members of this team were very passionate about their project, judges said. Their teacher, Karen Brown, sponsored the project. The students each received $100 and Brown received $100.
Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair
In the Senior Division of the Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair, Anokhi Patel was the third place winner for the Excellence in Water Research award. Anokhi is a ninth grader at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon. Her project, “Continuous Water Distillation Using Lens,” explored a more efficient way to clean water on a small scale. While she found a design to do so online, she improved upon the design in several ways, adding a float, an overflow valve, and a better way to flush the system. In other words, she took an existing system and made it more efficient. Judges said her project was well engineered and her presentation and video were very good. Brinda Patel sponsored her project. Anokhi received $200 and her sponsor received $100.
In the Junior Division of the Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair, Lekha Pillarisetti was the first place winner for the Excellence in Water Research award. Lekha Pillarisetti is a seventh grader at Windemere Ranch Middle School in Dougherty Valley, San Ramon. Her project, “The Effect of Different Types of Soil and Water on Plant Growth,” explored a better way to irrigate and conserve water. Her research found that soil texture was the most important factor, with amount, timing and frequency of watering important secondary factors. She found that watering at night saved water and that over-watering only wastes water. Judges commented that her project was a timely achievement as California endures a drought. The average Californian uses 360 gallons of water per day and a little more than half of that is used to water their landscape. This research projected that if Californians reduced their irrigation by one percent, they would save twenty-three million gallons per day, statewide. Vijay Pillarisetti sponsored the project. Lekha received $500 and her sponsor received $100.
In the Junior Division of the Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair, Spoorthi Vittaladevuni and Yukta Rakesh were runners up for the Excellence in Water Research award. The students are eighth graders at Windemere Ranch Middle School in Dougherty Valley, San Ramon. Their team project, “Aqua Refined,” explored the use of crushed morgina seeds to clean pollutants from water. Judges said the students knew what they were talking about and had a very impressive PowerPoint presentation. Venu Vittaladevuni sponsored their project. These students each received $150 and their sponsor received $100.