Muthu Vijayakumar presents his poster project to professor Tirupati BolisettiMaster’s student Muthu Vijayakumar presents his poster on storm water runoff in the vicinity of the University of Windsor to professor Tirupati Bolisetti, who organized the March 22 student poster presentation to mark World Water Day.

Engineering students tackle climate change, flooding, and urban storm water management on World Water Day

The next time you notice raindrops hit the ground near the University of Windsor, think of Muthu Vijayakumar.

A Master’s student in engineering, Vijaykumar has studied storm runoff in three catchment areas from Wyandotte Street West to the Detroit River and from Crawford Avenue into Sandwich. Gleaning data from the City of Windsor and from weather sources, he has used storm water management modelling software to study the flow pattern of runoff.

The goal is to bring runoff back to the way it was before there was any development in the area.

“Determination of runoff is an important process in flood control,” Vijayakumar said. “The idea is to manage the water quantity as well as quality.”

Vijaykumar is one of 13 graduate students from professor Tirupati Bolisetti’s hydrology class who presented posters of their work in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation Tuesday to mark World Water Day. Their projects looked at water issues close to home and as far away as British Columbia and California.

One project looked at precipitation trends in the Great Lakes. Another, by student Vaibhar Vyas, focused on a river system in British Columbia, forecasting flooding patterns in southern B.C. and Northern California for the next 200 years.

“The analysis is important for future construction — bridges and any other structure, really,” Vyas said.

Bill Van Heyst, dean of the Faculty of Engineering, was the guest speaker at the event.

“Access to safe water is one of the grand challenges identified by the deans of engineering in Canada,” Dr. Van Heyst told the students. “Young engineers have to step up and develop innovative and practical solutions to these grand challenges.”

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22 the annual celebration of World Water Day. This is the ninth year UWindsor engineering students in Dr. Bolisetti’s class have presented posters of their water-related research and hosted a guest speaker to mark the day.

“The students learn professional practices while working on the projects,” Bolisetti said.

“The projects are of practical relevance to our region, covering issues such as storm water management, flooding, Great Lakes Basin water problems, and climate change impacts, while keeping global water issues in mind.”

To learn more about World Water Day, visit the UN’s 2022 World Water Day website.

—Sarah Sacheli