Water

Turn on the faucet and clean water flows. Most don’t give it much thought, but for civil engineers, urban planners and developers, maintaining a reliable water supply takes expertise, planning and constant vigilance.

A water-resilient city must be prepared to address a wide range of risks, including drought, flooding, population change, natural and manmade disasters, and economic recession.

With this pressing issue top of mind, the Future City Competition, now in its 28th year, announces Clean Water: Tap Into Tomorrow, the 2019-20 theme for its award-winning, project based learning experience for middle schoolers.

According to current estimates, 2 billion people worldwide — 25% of the world’s population —don’t have access to clean water. And that number is expected to double.

By 2025, it is predicted that as many as 4 billion of the Earth’s citizens will be living in water-stressed areas. In a recent survey commissioned on behalf of DiscoverE’s Global Day of the Engineer, engineers in the U.S. and abroad cited ‘access to clean water’ as the top global challenge they will face over the next 25 years.

During this coming school year, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students around the world will be asked to identify an urban water system threat and then imagine, research, design and build a futuristic solution to ensure a reliable supply of clean drinking water.

Working as a team with an educator and STEM mentor, students present their vision of the future through a virtual city design (using SimCity software); a 1,500 word city essay; a scale model of their city built with recycled materials; and a short presentation to a panel of STEM professionals. Keeping the engineering design process and project management front and center, students are asked to address an authentic, real-world question: How can we make the world a better place?

In the U.S., over 40,000 students, representing 1,500 schools and 39 regions, take part in the Future City Competition. Teams present their ideas at regional competitions in January. U.S. regional winners then face off at the Future City Finals, where they are joined by a growing roster of international teams, including those from Canada and China.

The Missouri regional final will be held Jan. 11, 2020, the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. The Missouri regional winners then face off at the Finals in Washington, D.C., from Feb. 15 to 19, 2020, during Engineers Week.

The exciting competition culminates with one team taking home the grand prize of a trip to U.S. Space Camp and $7,500 for their school’s STEM program, provided by Finals sponsor Bentley Systems.

The deadline to register for this year’s Future City Competition is Oct. 31. Register or learn more at www.futurecity.org. Visit @FutureCityCompetition on Facebook for more information and updates.

Future City has ongoing opportunities for engineering and technical professionals to volunteer in a number of different roles, including team mentors and regional coordinators. For more information about Future City and volunteer opportunities, visit www.futurecity.org.

Major funding for Future City comes from the Bechtel Corporation, Bentley Systems Inc, NCEES, Shell Oil Company and DiscoverE. Additional program support provided by EA and UL.

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