A domestic water recycling unit that re-defines our relationship with water.

TimelineSeptember - December, 2020
University ProjectTeam : Alhaan Ahmed, Nikhilesh Mohan
Mentored byMirko Daneluzzo
ProcessConceptualization - Research - Working Prototype - Rendering

Project Brief

This project challenged our team to be environmental designers, focusing on the different systems in an urban environment and finding new methods to optimize them. The priority was to design products, understanding the context they exist and operate in.

The Challenge

We set the United Arab Emirates as our urban environment to analyze and understand. After doing multiple rounds of research on different aspects of the cities and we quickly realized that the area with the most drawbacks and opportunities was "water".


Water is an essential resource for human life. The way we create, distribute, and use water within our cities is an elaborate and inefficient process. The United Arab Emirates is a rapidly growing country, yet it is also amongst the driest. Due to the countries lack of freshwater recourses, it relies on 98.8% of desalinated water to meet the rising demand for fresh water in the country.

Every day, 7.5 million cubic meters of water are produced through 70 different desalination plants scattered across the UAE’s coastline. The average water consumption per day, per person around the world is 250 liters. Whereas in the UAE it is 625 litres, almost 2.5 times the average. The statistics we found were alarming and urged us to further study and understand the journey of water in the UAE


Through our analysis of the journey of water in the UAE we found was that water is treated as a “disposable” resource and is consumed linearly. Generally, people tend to think of water as an unlimited resource, that is available anywhere, anytime. Making it extremely easy to abuse, consciously, or unconsciously. This has to lead to the periodic overconsumption of water within homes in the UAE.

During the research phase PH sensors were utilized to analyze the quality of water being put back into system. Surprisingly, all the readings averaged to about 7.6 which is well within the limit. This showed that a lot of the water being poured down the drains are not necessarily unclean.


Hydria is a domestic water recycling unit that redefines our relationship with water. Hydria recycles and repurposes left-over water from kitchen activities such as straining pasta, washing produce, soaking stuff, etc.

It uses a 3-stage natural filtration system with naturally purifying elements, gravel, sand, and activated charcoal. The water recycled through Hydria can be used for watering plants, mopping, ironing, etc. At a larger scale, Hydria can be implemented within buildings to collectively produce and reuse recycled water. Creating a more self-sustainable operating community.

Hydria can help us reduce our overconsumption and abuse of water as a resource. It provides us the tools to develop a more symbiotic relationship with water.

Journey of Hydria

Cooking, defrosting, washing and other activities conducted within our kitchens produce a lot of water that we consider as waste and thus drain out from our sinks. As previously noted, this water is not unclean, in fact, it can conveniently and effectively be recycled and used for other activities that require water within our homes.

This allows us to consider activities as sources of water and connect two completely different activities with each other, changing the way we perceive water and execute tasks within our domestic environments. For instance, the water recovered after cooking pasta may be used to fill one's iron, mop the floor, water plants, amongst many other things.

Technicalities of Hydria

This new dynamic between water and the multiple activities can be used to significantly decrease our consumption of water, within our homes and communities. The recycled water can be crowdsourced from multiple units of Hydria in each apartment of a building, and thus used to meet the water requirements of the building.

This shows that Hydria can help us work towards developing more social, economic, and environmentally sustainable communities within our cities and urban environments.

Working Prototype


A domestic water recycling unit that re-defines our relationship with water.

This project was created in collaboration with Alhaan Ahmed