Team Aquador

What We Do

Team Aquador addresses water safety and accessibility issues in economically and environmentally disadvantaged rural Ecuadorian communities. We design, build, and deliver sustainable water access and purification solutions that our target communities can replicate and maintain. Our projects use recycled, discarded, regionally accessible materials. We actively collaborate with our community partners in La Bolivarense as we design innovative solutions to alleviate resource inequality and empower our partner communities.

Each year, we send a group of students to our partner communities in Ecuador to implement new solutions, review impacts of ongoing projects, conduct needs assessments, and begin new water accessibility initiatives. We missed the 2020 and 2021 travel seasons due to the pandemic, but we're excited to resume our travel cycle in 2022!

Who We Are

Team Aquador brings together University of Michigan students to create sustainable, responsible, and empowering water accessibility solutions for Ecuadorian communities. In Ecuador, many communities, especially in rural areas, depend on bottled or corporate-controlled water for drinking and household use; those who cannot afford drink unfiltered, often polluted, water. This lack of access to clean water leads to the spread of disease and perpetuates economic disadvantages.

Our student organization is officially affiliated with the University of Michigan College of Engineering.

Team Aquador is nested under the Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP) at the University of Michigan.


We aim to improve community water systems in rural Ecuador using sustainable design principles. Our designs:

  • are low-cost

  • are environmentally responsible

  • empower and promote independence in our partner communities

  • are culturally appropriate

  • are sustainable and long-lasting

We will meet these goals by partnering and working closely with the communities we intend to help. Through these partnerships, we can create sustainable designs that are well suited to their users, and we can empower community members to take charge of their water systems.

How We Work

We work out of the Prototyping Lab run by the Center for Socially Engaged Design (C-SED).

The team is segmented into two major sub-teams:

  • Business Team:

    • raises funds

    • organizes data and metrics

    • promotes the team within the Michigan community

  • Design Team:

    • works with the community to determine what type of system will best serve community members

    • keeps costs down in order to ensure that community members can afford the system

    • ensures that designs are simple enough to be replicated and maintained by community members

    • communicates with community partners to ensure that the designed system is culturally appropriate and will be used

    • prototypes and tests designs

We have one faculty mentor and two faculty advisers.