June 25, 2015
At some point, all of the awe-inspiring apps created in Silicon Valley aren’t going to mean lick if no one in the state can take a shower.
That’s the hypothetical, but not entirely improbable, scenario unfolding in the technology capital of the world. Economically, the region is booming, but there quietly lurks a disaster that could cripple the industry irreparably. And if you haven’t had access to a computer over the past four years, I’m talking of course about the unprecedented drought that threatens to worsen in the coming summer months.
So with all the brainpower on the West coast, why isn’t some of it being used to remedy this century’s most trying ecological challenge? Well, there’s good news.
From waste shaming to agriculture water-conservation technology, a handful of organizations are making waves (figuratively speaking, of course) during the drought.
- Want to publicly report egregious water wasters? There’s an app for that. DroughtShame lets users report an offender's address, a photo of the waste, and how severe the waste is on a scale of light, moderate, or heavy. The beauty of this app is how simply it lets you report the information, which is delightfully shared on the cloud for water enforcing agencies to take notice.
- With a similar aim as above, Vizsafe allows anyone to post pictures of water wasters. It also features geo tagging, which makes it that much easier to report what you’re seeing. Although it’s designed for reporting any number of incidents ranging from petty crimes to fires, the drought shaming component makes it an effective tool.
- H20 Tracker is a simple app designed to help you understand how many gallons of water you’re using for everyday activities, like showering. What’s perfect about H2O Tracker is that it not only shows you water usage, but puts it in dollars. Even for that non-drought conscious user, money talks.
- Reports indicate that 40 percent of the state’s water is allocated to agriculture, so it’s important that industry has the tools to conserve water effectively. PowWow monitors pump health and sends farmers text updates if there’s a problem such as a leak on their farm using data from water energy records and aerial imagery.
- CropX is a company with a solution so compelling that it raised $9 million to help it move forward. The company offers an agriculture analytics service, which automatically optimizes irrigation. The end result is farming that saves boatloads of both water and money.
So there you have it. Smart people doing smart things to keep our region’s precious aqua. Now if only there could be an app that brings a little more rain.
What do you make the companies above? Did we miss any?
Image Credit: Dry Lake Bed Flickr/Gabriel Millos
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