Since there are no currently active contests, we have switched Climate CoLab to read-only mode.
Learn more at
Skip navigation
Share via:


A mobile water tank that can be used to store and transport drinking water as well as function as a boat in case of flooding and save lives!



Unstable climatic patterns and natural disasters are widespread today in most countries of the world. But the high impact of the deadly side of climate change has become even more common in the countries of the deprived.

In the core of this global issue, water plays a crucial role - whether it is through lack of drinking water available due to drought or the destruction caused by too much water due to sea level rising and inland flooding. This crisis impacts the lives of millions and accounts for thousands of deaths yearly. In such times survival and basic necessities are what’s most important for the people on ground.

In lieu of this I propose an innovative and practical multifunctional adaptation tool that can aid vulnerable people across the planet in everyday life as well as in scenarios of natural calamity.

The mobile water tank is an innovative, practical and novel device that can serve as water storage and transport unit and more importantly work as a floatation device too. The design of the tank is the key to this dual function and is made in a way and from material similar to a boat so as to retain its buoyancy. In everyday use the tank functions as any ordinary water collection unit. In scenarios of water scarcity its lightweight structure and purposeful features enable mobility towards water collection spots. In the event of flooding it has the capacity to turn into a rescue and evacuation floatation device that can save lives.

Survival is the first step in adaptation and we recognize that. This is why the boat tank is the solution that meets this challenge. It is a multipurpose tool that anticipates flood hazards, absorbs rescue burdens and reshapes vulnerable communities into effective self disaster management units. Watch our Video

“We hope you join us in helping the world stay hydrated and afloat with this revolutionary simple innovation.”

What actions do you propose?

Equipping vulnerable communities with this device in order to empower those affected the most to be prepared for the recurrent climate induced disasters.

Realization of the Boat Tank is not far from the near future.
We have created the design of our model and are successfully at concept of proof. Albeit there are still many crucial tasks that need to be implemented in order to effectively scale our solution for the global market and ensure its success against the hazards.

Now the next actions we need to take are:
1.Working with stakeholders to review and revise our model 
2.Fundraising to pay for the device prototype, its development, campaign costs and incidentals
3.Collaborating with the MIT CoLab engineers to perfect its stability and design
4.Reaching out to the different networks we will use for implementation of the grounds (empowerment) program

We'll be discussing how we will go about achieving these in the paragraphs below.

The Hazards

When dealing with floods loss of agricultural land, infiltration of clean water supply, destruction of property and high mortality rates are evident consequences. But besides those there are many other risks exposed to the victims who are in those areas such as drowning, electrocution, snake bites, hypothermia and many health issues like Leptospirosis in addition to other waterborne illnesses. Moreover drought impacts food production and leads to malnourishment, heart & respiratory diseases like heatstroke and can increase risk to the fungal infection Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever). Additionally lack of storage for domestic supply of water is a leading issue for poor water-deficient countries. The °degree of difference has intensified climate change and led to such conditions being seen across the globe from Bangkok to New Orleans and from Abidjan to La Digue.

The Paris Agreement calls for limiting the increase in global temperature but still until a collective global shift happens the predicament we face is clear. Unfortunately even though the hazards are recurrent our efforts have been limited and what’s even more infuriating is that most of these risks can be significantly reduced by fostering climate wisdom, equipping people with the resource they need and lowering exposure to the impeding risks.

Our project aims to do just that and more! The design and function of this device was made having the impact of climate change specifically in mind. In fact it was inspired by this image of a little girl pushing her brother in a cooking vessel over the flood waters that impacted the lives of more than 20 million people in Pakistan in 2010.

The Boat Tank
In everyday use the tank functions as any ordinary water collection unit for a family or small community and would be able to be filled manually or connected to a piped water system, if available. It has a top which works as a cover and fits into the bottom as a lid would to a container. Once attached it is held in its place by the specific design fitting along with intact side holders preventing detachment and external contamination. The back of the bottom tank has replaceable external tubes for removing/filling water easily.

In scenarios of drought the boat tank’s attachable wheel fitting in the bottom and its lightweight structure make it easy to be pulled (by hand, animal cart or motor vehicle) along long distances for refilling. The wheel fitting would be such as to withstand rough conditions and the wheel itself would be like the ones used in small carriages or wheelbarrows. This will help with the budget and make the wheels easily replaceable.


In emergency events of flooding the water in the boat tank can be emptied into smaller water containers or bottles and its bottom can function as a boat. The top made from a similar material and having a slightly similar shape -in addition to closed cell foam-  would also function as a flotation device that would be able to carry a portion of the removed water bottles (for post disaster usage) and some other light materials like documents, personal belongings, etc.

The top cover will be attached behind the bottom tank through rope. Imagine a car pulling another except in this case one floatation device pulls the other.


Structural Components: Top tank, Bottom tank, Oar, External Pipes, Wheel fittings and Wheels would be included.
Capacity: 5-7 people for the boat (approximately 700lb) and 3000-5000L as storage unit.
Size: Length 7’ 8” Width 4’ 4” Height 3”5”
Weight: Approximately 190lb making it relatively lightweight
Features: stability and durability, mobility (due to wheels in keel and front), lightweight, rugged, compounded, high density polyethylene (making it intrinsically buoyant), and a closed-cell foam especially for the top cover to ensure enhanced buoyancy.

Material: The building material is plastic. Now before you raise your eyebrow, I have to say that as unappealing as it is, still using plastic is the best available choice. Also not all plastic is made equal and so not all plastic is bad -at least not particularly when it comes to the ground reality of saving lives.
Polyethylene is our go to raw material as it is extremely impact-resistant and it’s moldable so it can sustain our slightly complex shape and design. Its HDPE form is what is used for liquid barrels and the fact that it’s widely available and comparatively cheaper is a plus (since cost is a huge factor when it comes to catering to vulnerable communities who are financially constrained). That’s our backup.
Another main potential material to work with is SrPET (self-reinforced polyethylene terephthalate) which is an improvement on the above PET version that constitutes a woven fabric of PET fibers and is 100% recyclable and more environmentally friendly. Environmentalist David De Rothschild worked with this for his boat made out of plastic bottles called The Plastiki so the feasibility and sustainability of the material are up to our desired standards. In addition to this, technological advancements in 3D printing have opened the space for more sustainable manufacturing and we would be taking advantage of it to create affordable, efficient and green prototypes of our design and perhaps in the future dabble with using 3D printing as our primary tool like Hanse and their 3D yacht or Jim Smith and his 3D kayak.

Anticipate, Absorb and Reshape climate resilience through the Boat Tank

The Secretary Generals A2R initiative calls for adaptation to climate change in order to grow resilience among the people who are facing the consequences of Climate Change. In order to do this effectively we need to re-evaluate our understanding of life in Climate risk zones and fuse new innovation to traditional practicality.

Our project is made with these important factors in mind and will work in 3 phases:

                                Production, Distribution and Empowerment.


    | To Produce: We use our resources to create the boat tank that harbors both stability and longevity and is manufactured in an economically conscious way.
    | To Distribute: We use indicators and mark our outreach to vulnerable communities in climate high risk zones who would be best suited and most benefited from our device.
    | To Empower: We equip the people with this tool and create climate resilience clusters which serve as the field floor for sharing knowledge, tips and other resources in addition to this tool for enhanced resilience.

Production and Distribution will be discussed below.
[ EmpowermentProviding people with this device is not enough. Capacity building is a fundamental goal of ours so that we can successfully create resilience within the communities we target. This will be based on grassroots clusters who we will work with to enhance survive skills and clean water techniques along with of course information and usage explanation of the floatation device thus ensuring effective end user adoption. 

Easy, low-cost methods for improving health exist and can be used for building capacity. Water can be purified by means of chlorination and solar-thermal techniques. Rain harvesting techniques can be used with our device. Moreover basic survivor and first-aid skills like swimming, treating water contamination, disinfecting wounds exposed to open water and many other things will be featured in our ground program.
We believe these climate clusters will be the ones who will eventually shine as A2R success stories.

Incentivized Early Action: since our device will be given for free we will use that to incentive early action within the communities. Our tank boats will be given to the people who are in our climate clusters. This is simple and effective as people want the tool so they do the actions needed for their own benefit through our aid. Thus our empowerment program ensures participation and proactive resilience. Alternatively other incentives include the free first aid trainings, learning swimming for young people and other features we aim to provide. 

Challenges and Obstacles
We believe ensuring feasibility is crucial to making the boat tank a success and ensuring our proposal’s effectiveness. That is why we want to acknowledge and elaborate on our counteraction plan for the obstacles and challenges that may arise.

Technicality glitches might arise due to lack of funding available or delay in development. This is a very real risk and concern of ours and we would need to see it through by harboring as much external support as we can for the execution of our desired goal. In this way the support from the A2R group and MIT CoLab will serve as an exceptional opportunity for us.

The on grounds outreach may face cultural or political challenges as we aim to reach developing countries, some of which face many uncertainties. To deal with this we would be partnering with already established NGOs and INGOs like WWF in the regions we aim to launch our solution. This will give us more ground support and we wouldn’t have to face the challenges of setting up in foreign regions on our own. Moreover the program may not appear appealing enough to the target patients such as the extremely impoverished individuals who don’t see future flooding as an immediate threat. To overcome this we have to better elucidate the benefits of our innovation and why early action is necessary for them. Our empowerment action is aimed at tackling this very obstacle.

Social barriers will arise in different regions of the world including the home base of Pakistan. These could be based on gender disparity, social class structure or some other unforeseen issue. To address this we will need to make our own team more aware and sensitive to social norms. Trainings on how to approach these issues can be done with help from veteran social actors. Moreover in order to effectively anticipate climate hazards and act against them we need to be extremely inclusive as this global phenomenon tends to inflict marginalized groups more than others. This means training women and young people as well as the men for proper dissipation of survive skills.

Economic constraints are the biggest hurdle we will have. We are from a developing country so we know that a significant portion of the people we are trying to save with the boat tank will not be able to afford it themselves (at least not those extremely vulnerable). To counter this we would be looking to raise investment through external sources to provide the boat tanks pro bono. Moreover we would be looking into marketing our device to people who can afford the tool along with government bodies like the natural disaster unit or armed forces in Pakistan who have funds allotted specifically for relief and rescue tools.  

Additionally many other unforeseen challenges may arise. However that should not discourage us.
The realities of climate work and taking a global challenge like this cannot come without impediments.
We just need to be prepared to deal with these when the time comes and I believe we at can successfully do that.

Who will take these actions?

As the creator I’ll be leading the Boat Tank from concept to reality. The MIT CoLab and my team based in NY and PK will be the main executors. We will build our solution’s support structure and strengthen it with help from three separate groups of actors. Our key players and their roles being:

1st are The Creators / Internal Team
This includes the fund raisers, the research and design team and the engineers who will work with us to improve and perfect our device’s viability.
Research and information will be sourced from UN A2R, pilot testing and community engagement will be done with support from WWF-P, design improvement will be done through hired help and with requested advice from water tank, rescue boat and dinghy creators (Plastiki, P. Pudgy), fundraising will be gained through crowd sourcing sites like GoFundMe and/or Kickstarter and the prototype development will be done under the MIT CoLabs with help from their brilliant students.

2nd are The Distributors / External Support
Disaster management experts, NGOs, climate activists and other stakeholders who we will work with in order to make this program feasible and expand its outreach.
This will be done by reaching out to concerned organizations like UNFCCC, WWF, EEA, GFDRR and NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) Pakistan through whose support (financial & technical) we can integrate the program in hazard prone areas.

3rd are The End Users / Target population
These are the vulnerable communities who are exposed to the adverse effects of Climate Change and need support. By empowering them through our device and skills program we aim to strengthen these people and equip them to not only be able to safeguard their own lives but also help in rescue and recovery of others. This will help us in creating a global grassroots’ network of climate resilience groups who take the early actions needed to survive and thrive against climate extremes.

We will also heartily welcome support and counsel from the judges.

Where will these actions be taken?

Among the countries worst affected by Climate Change are those whose hazard predicaments are primarily related to water in the form of floods and/or drought. Our focus is to target the vulnerable communities in those regions.

We would be looking at 3 factors (indicators) for our geographical distribution
1) Areas with recurrent floods like in Khyber Paktunkhwa in Pakistan
2) Areas with sea level rising like Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam
3) Areas which suffer from both floods and drought like Southern African states of Mozambique and Madagascar and Small Island States like Maldives and Tuvalu

Small Island States (like Seychelles, Maldives, Tuvalu and Haiti) and developing and underdeveloped nations in Asia and Africa (like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar) are our primary target for the boat tank.

Floods and drought dominate the climate burdens in these regions and also dominate the costs which results in exponential economic weight. We plan to reduce those annual expected costs through our early action relief and recovery model. Moreover the countries we note have the highest projected mortality rates from the aforementioned hazards and so we feel it’s necessary to direct assistance to those in imminent threat first.

Furthermore some of these countries are home to our team’s personal network of friends and colleagues (social workers, activists, etc) and so for us to implement our solution there would be easier than in regions in which we don’t have ground support.

Manufacturing of the prototypes will be done in the US as that’s where our financial and technical support will be the strongest and most importantly where the MIT team is situated. The hazard impacted home base for the device’s pilot testing will in Pakistan where the proposal’s creator resides.

After successful implementation in our primary target countries we will be expanding world wide as the hazard we aim to combat is one which impacts almost all nations of the world.

What are other key benefits?

  1. Secure storage of water
  2. Lowered chances of water supply contamination
  3. Water scarcity causes people to travel long distances to transport water we make that journey easier
  4. Faster evacuation and relocation of communities
  5. Reduced national and local economic disaster relief burdens
  6. Reduced expenses on rescue operations which can be utilized on post disaster recovery/rehabilitation
  7. Lessens natural calamity mortality rates in disaster prone areas
  8. Protection of infants and toddlers who cannot walk through the flood or swim
  9. Protection of children from health hazards due to prolonged exposure to inundated water
  10. Protection of vulnerable groups (elderly, disabled and immobile people) who need assistance
  11. Protection of assets, personal belongings, etc
  12. Enables saving animals and livestock (cats, goats, chickens)
  13. Promotes water conservation and encourages rain harvesting, filter-pad use
  14. Created specifically for SIS and developing and underdeveloped climate high risk countries
  15. Builds capacity and climate resilience

What are the proposal’s costs?

This proposal is principally targeted towards vulnerable people from low and middle-income countries thus making the economic costs of the project extremely detrimental to the project’s achievability.

Our solution’s cost is expected to be approximately $100,000 in the first 2 years.
This includes expected expenditure of:
$25,000 for design and engineering work
$20,000 for prototyping
$30,000 for the initial 25 boat tanks manufactured
$10,000 for incidentals with the project development
$12,000 for the on-grounds program, visual guides for the climate clusters and workshops
$2,000 for the campaign drive

The cost for one Boat Tank will be approximately $500.

Truthfully while this is not a very high amount for developed countries (given the product and the cost of a slightly similar product of just a ordinary PET boat), it is still high enough for the people we are catering too. Majority of the individuals exposed to climate induced disasters come from impoverished nations and are not financially secure enough to pay high costs – even if it is to save their lives.
We are not ignorant to that fact and this is a hurdle I acknowledge with my plan and so we will be looking to pay for the design and manufacturing from other sources.

We aim to fundraise through Kickstarter and/or Gofundme to raise the initial 50K for the starting costs. If selected as a winner, collaborating with the MIT Lab will help us push down costs even more and also in fact help in raising more money through the proposals promotion on Climate CoLab and the A2R networks.

Besides this we would be seeking other opportunities for funding based on climate and innovation grants and looking for sponsors and organizations that provide seed funding. Adaptation Fund, Nordic Development Fund, Global Environment Facility, International Climate Initiative and The Green Climate Fund are just some of the organizations whose grant requirements our proposal meets and so we will try to raise the necessary capital through them.

Time line

2017 | Jan | Conceptualization and polishing solution
           Feb | Publishing proposal
           Mar | Establishing networks, collaborating with other individuals at Climate CoLab
            Apr | Following the open solutions judges advice and making the necessary amendments in the proposal
          May | Establishing fundraising plan and scouting and utilizing volunteers for the campaign
    Jun-Aug | Expanding human resources available for internal workload
            Sep | Presenting The Boat Tank to A2R Leadership Group
    Oct-Dec | Fundraising

2018 | Jan | Project Progress Report
    Feb-Apr | Developing the prototype and creating the climate cluster program with MIT
    May-Jul | Field testing our program and improving its function by seeing what works and what doesn’t work for tackling these multifaceted climate hazards
           Aug | Launching the first 5 boat tanks in Pakistan
          Sept | Introducing our first climate resilience cluster trainings
   Oct-Nov | Launching 10 more boat tanks and our climate cluster groups
          Dec | Project Progress Report

2019-2020 | Expanding our project to other target countries and enabling the sinking states and the drowning ones to survive and prosper in the shifting climate extremes

2020–2030 | Scaling our project to include other regions through enhanced partnerships, country specific grants and volunteer based assistance and following up on our progress closely next to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDG’s Millennium Development Goals with regards to climate action, clean water and sanitation and good health and well being

2030-onwards | Either we would have learnt our lesson and made momentous united global transformation to save our planet and so the need for the boat tank would be limited or alternately we would have not changed our ways and the need for the boat tank would surplus our imagination as millions of people would be in the same position as this polar bear on thin ice

Related proposals

We did not find any related proposals in the Climate CoLab database that are similar to our model. Moreover our model is uniquely novel as it hasn’t even been done or discussed elsewhere either. The closest related projects are those of sustainable barrel boats like the exceptionally remarkable work of Ed Guevara from the Philippines. Though while his amazing project is mainly focused on rescue efforts ours works for multifaceted purposes that include not just rescue but also everyday utilization.

"Small Island States are sinking as we speak. It is our responsibility to meet the immediate priorities of the most vulnerable and make sure they stay afloat.
We’re a workboat built for real world conditions and we hope you can relate to our concerns and save this drowning world." - Aown


From victims to activists: Children and the effects of Climate Change in Pakistan / Aown Shahzad, The State of the World’s Children Report 2011, UNICEF

Droughts and Floods: The Face of Climate Change / Willem Malten, Organic Consumers

Inclusive Community Resilience / Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery

Innovation as Adaptation to Natural Disasters

Building Capacity on Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal Areas of Pakistan (CCAP) / WWF-P

Small Island Developing States, disaster risk management, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and tourism / Neville Wright, UNISDR,%20N.,%202013.pdf

Small Islands will face more drought as a consequence of climate change / Nature Climate Change

Disappearing Tuvalu: First Modern Nation To Drown? / World Atlas

The Water People Drink / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How the lack of Access to Safe Water and Sanitation hampers Growth and Development: The case of Peru / Emily Platt, Global Majority E-Journal

Poor distribution of rainfall leads to floods and droughts in Southern Africa / Richard Davies

Cities at most risk from rising sea levels / Tim McDonnell, Climate Desk, Mother Jones

Coastal Flooding Damage: $1 Trillion a Year by 2050 / Live Science

Climate Change – Threat and Opportunity for Private Sector / Dimitris Tsitsiragos

Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Floods and Droughts / Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Lack of water contributing to poverty – Baugh / Jamaica Observer

Thank you for reading!
We hope you appreciate our work, select our solution and accept our call.