The hydrographic basins in Santa Marta have neglected the proper treatment from residents which has mainly affected the Manzanares, Piedras, and Gaira rivers. This resulted in a severe drinking water crisis due to a plethora of reasons, including deforestation of the tropical dry forests that surround the basins.
IEEE student members at the Universidad del Norte and the Universidad del Magdalena, amongst other IEEE professors and volunteers, have joined together to build a pico satellite to further help this community. This satellite would provide vital information to residents, such as notifying them when a flood is about to take place.
This project is working with a few non-governmental entities, institutions, and community leaders who have already started to clean up the basins and the areas surrounding them. The team hopes to use their learned engineering skills to not only create an environmentally friendly sensor but to also use it for future learning opportunities, such as using the obtained data to create connections between ambient temperature and fluvial body temperature.
In regard to the design of the monitoring systems, the team is currently weighing out different hardware options to use for the measurement of the basin water levels. One option is the ultrasonic level sensors. The team has decided to use open-source software to provide greater compatibility between the hardware and software components.
The team has been granted $5,000 from EPICS in IEEE to get started on building their sensors.