Pumps, Pipes and Wipes

I developed this interactive display for Tauranga City Council. It lets people discover the difference between storm water and waste water by pumping water and watching where it goes.

There are two hand pumps, the first makes rain fall from the cloud onto the roof of the house and the road. The second pump flushes the toilet and adds water to the bath, washing machine and sink.

You can watch the storm water flow through the drains, along an underground pipe and straight into the sea. The waste water either goes straight into the waste water pipe or through the gulley trap. It then flows to the water treatment plant where it passes through a series of 4 tanks before flowing into the sea.

A wet wipe blockage can also be simulated by putting a ball into the toilet. You can watch the ball flow along the waste water pipe but eventually it gets trapped by a valve. If you keep pumping the waste water, you can watch it back up in the pipe and eventually will flow up through the drain cover on the road and flow into the storm water system.

It has proven really popular with children and school groups, the physical activity of pumping the water and watching the water flow really engages them in the key messages.