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Xylem’s Let’s Solve Water Challenge Pumps Up Students’ Imagination

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Xylem’s Let’s Solve Water Challenge Pumps Up Students’ Imagination


What is the solution to building the most efficient water pump?
That was the question over 100 high school students from Rochester, NY, recently tried to solve as part of the inaugural Let’s Solve Water Challenge sponsored by Xylem.
Xylem engineers kicked off the two-week competition that brought together Rochester Community Robotic teams from 8 local high schools and introduced them to the challenge of designing and building a water pump. A key element was the students could not use any commercial assemblies in their projects other than the motor and the battery case provided, and their total budget could not exceed $50.
The competition was judged in four categories with each winning team receiving $1,000. The four categories were:
  • Fastest fill for a 1 gallon container at 6″ of head
  • Lowest average amps / gallon of water
  • Highest pressure (at 0 flow) generated
  • Most elegant design / presentation
“The goal for the Let’s Solve Water Challenge was to engage with students, to get them excited about solving a water problem and provide them with the guidance and resources to use their science, technology, and engineering know-how,” said Donna Lutter, manager communications at Xylem Applied Water Systems.
“The students gained real-world water engineering skills. They worked around design constraints, were able to discover trade-offs concerning energy efficiency, flow and pressure that working professionals encounter on a daily basis,” said John Maxwell with McQuaid Jesuit and coordinator of the Let’s Solve Water Challenge.
“The students’ eyes were opened wide to a whole new area of concern for water conservation and management. They saw the project as a way to play a part in building a low cost/low energy pump as a solution for water sustainability,” Maxwell added.
When the last drop of water was pumped and the students finished, the winners were:
  • Fastest Fill:  FRC Team #3173 IgKNIGHTers (McQuaid Jesuit)
  • Most Efficient:  FRC Team #1559 DevilTech (Victor Central Schools)
  • Highest Pressure:  FRC Team #3003 TanX (Canandaigua Academy)
  • Most Elegant Design:  FRC Team #1126 SparX (Webster Central School)
“As a leading global water technology company, Xylem is focused on addressing the world’s most challenging water issues, and we were extremely proud to be the sponsor of this event,” Lutter added.
With the overwhelming success of this first-time competition, plans are being made to repeat the Xylem Let’s Solve Water Challenge next year in Rochester and perhaps additional marketplaces in the future.
About Xylem
Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology provider, enabling customers to transport, treat, test and efficiently use water in public utility, residential and commercial building services, industrial and agricultural settings. The company does business in more than 150 countries through a number of market-leading product brands, and its people bring broad applications expertise with a strong focus on finding local solutions to the world’s most challenging water and wastewater problems. Launched in 2011 from the spinoff of the water-related businesses of ITT Corporation, Xylem is headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., with 2011 revenues of $3.8 billion and 12,500 employees worldwide.
The name Xylem is derived from classical Greek and is the tissue that transports water in plants, highlighting the engineering efficiency of our water-centric business by linking it with the best water transportation of all — that which occurs in nature. For more information, please visit us at
About IgKnighters
The IgKnighters is a multi-school FIRST Robotics team, Team 3173. We strive to combine our team’s identity of “Men and Women for Others” and FIRST values. Our team members reach out to other teams as well as our local community to encourage students’ interest in science and technology. Student members of Mercy High School, McQuaid Jesuit, and Bishop Kearney High School are all part of The IgKnighters. Incorporation of specific core skills such as respect, teamwork, leadership, and cooperation are integral, consistently-applied components of all our team tasks as we assist others and construct our own robot in the spirit of FIRST and our school. We are based in Rochester, New York, and hosted by McQuaid Jesuit. To learn more about IgKnighter’s, visit us at
About Rochester Community Robotics
Rochester Community Robotics (RCR) is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 with the goal of exposing interested students to engineering and related technology careers through robotics programs. With the help of major corporations, RCR has helped hundreds of Rochester students to prepare for robotics events and competitions through fund-raising, financial advising and supporting overall team growth. We aim to inspire and motivate young people to pursue science and technology careers and become confident, self-reliant, responsible citizens poised to make a real difference in our world using a fun, creative, and unique environment that extends learning beyond the classroom. Visit us at

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