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Roots of Change Rainwater Harvesting Design Competition
December 2, 2013

AGUA is pleased to invite you to a public reception for the winners of our Roots of Change Rainwater Harvesting Design Competition. The reception will be held Saturday, December 14th. Details are below.

Public Reception and Exhibition

You are invited to attend a reception for the winners and an exhibition of their designs:

Saturday, December 14th
6 to 9 p.m.
French & Michigan Gallery
115 Michigan Avenue
210 · 378 · 0961 | Website

This event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.


  • 1st prize - Steve Marrone & Ben Vierville
  • 2nd prize - Jessica Ramirez
  • Honorable mentions:
    • Trent Tunks
    • Carlos Firpi-Nieves
    • Matthew Muller
    • Matthew Vasquez (for presentation)

Be sure to visit our Gallery of Rainwater Harvesting Designs, featuring illustrations and descriptions of the designs entered in the competition.

About the Competition

Roots of Change Rainwater Harvesting Design Competition is intended to call attention to the need to protect America’s waters while simultaneously heightening awareness of environmental justice issues in a community context..

Sponsored jointly by AGUA and SWU (Southwest Workers' Union), both based in San Antonio, Texas, this competition is funded in part by the EPA's Environmental Education Program.


For additional information, phone Enrique Valdivia at (210) 789-0900 or send an email to:

Background: An Environmental Justice Community-Based Green Infrastructure Design Challenge

Groundwater from the Edwards Aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for the people of San Antonio. As San Antonio grows, so does demand for water from the aquifer.

This ever-increasing demand cannot be met solely by pumping water out of the aquifer without severe adverse impacts on the region’s springs, natural beauty and endangered wildlife. Rainwater harvesting systems designed to harvest water runoff from rooftops are an exciting but under-utilized alternative to Edwards groundwater.

The target audience for this project is the East Side of San Antonio community where the SWU headquarters is located. The East Side of San Antonio is an environmental justice community.

It is in this context that SWU has established the Roots of Change organic community garden. Roots of Change has involved hundreds of people in the construction of raised gardens that produce organic fruits, vegetables and herbs in a part of San Antonio that lacks ready access to fresh produce. The garden addresses this problem by providing a local space for residents to grow and harvest food themselves and to learn about hands-on alternatives to the currently prevalent corporate-controlled food system.

Design competition submissions will envision a rainwater catchment and harvesting system that will service the Roots of Change garden, and further its mission of bringing environmental awareness to the community in which it is located


A panel of community members, gardeners and architects will evaluate the entries. For purposes of evaluation, the entries will be categorized into three groups, based on educational level of the participant: elementary-school age and younger, middle school/high school, and college/professional.

Submissions will be evaluated and winners selected based on the following criteria:

  • Creativity and Originality
  • Focus on environmental awareness and the importance of water
  • Clarity and Creativity of presentation


Cash prizes will be awarded to the two participants in each category whose entries are determined to most fully exemplify the goals and aspirations of the design competition as outlined in this document.

  First Place Second Place
Elementary or younger
Middle School or High School
College/Univ. or Professional