The Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge

The Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge engages six cross-disciplinary teams together from across the globe to work with Alaska communities to design, prototype, test and evaluate in-home water and sewer systems for rural Alaska. Current community level piped systems are expensive to build and operate, funding is decreasing, and for a variety of reasons there are still homes with unmet needs. The Challenge calls for a household-based system that focuses on the end user and how water is used in the home. The goal is to maximize the benefits of water use while minimizing the amount of water consumed. This approach will also require a different design process that will rely on direct input from users and will be more of a collaborative, open process that will need to engage the community.

 Agnew::Beck and Summit Consulting Services have pulled together a team including community engagements specialists working with the village of Kivalina to adapt to climate change, a Gates Foundation Dry Toilet Finalist, and an environmental engineering lab in Austria. The Summit team was one of the six finalists in a highly competitive first phase, and is currently working with Kongiganak and Kivalina communities to develop a design for a prototypical system that provides water and wastewater solutions within the home. The focus of the team and proposed approach is to bring together technical expertise, global innovation and community knowledge to create an innovative and practical solution for rural Alaska. The second phase ends June 30th with a proposed design. Three teams will continue to the prototype, testing and evaluation phases beginning in the second half of 2015.