The Southwest United States, particularly California, is experiencing serious drought and we’re in desperate need of rain. People are concerned about the risk and worsening of wildfires, reduced agricultural production, and increasing grocery store prices.
As a Los Angeles-based company, we’ve felt the effects directly in our own lives. We couldn’t sit back and ignore the problem; we knew there had to be a way for individuals to make an impact.
Efficient Drought Management
Water agencies like Desert Water and the iEfficient Group encourage citizens to report water issues and cut back on water consumption. There are obvious activities, like watering your lawn and washing your car, which are nonessential and result in water loss. But did you know that even as little as one drop per minute (through a leaky faucet) wastes over 2,000 gallons of water per year?
Reducing water waste can be difficult. Water agencies can only address the problems that are reported to them. But many people either do not know how to report water waste issues or find it difficult to do so. There is a disconnect between water agencies and the citizens that can help make drought management highly effective. Fortunately, we knew that technology could help bridge this gap.
The Mobile App Solution: EveryDrop
In response to the growing problem, we (the team at CitySourced) jumped to action. We live and work in L.A. and the problem of severe drought affects us every day.
We created EveryDrop, a water conservation platform, to engage citizens in both reporting water waste and to educate them on how to better conserve water. For the public, EveryDrop is available both on the web and as a downloadable app for Android and iPhone, and integrates tightly with mapping technology by Esri. With EveryDrop, citizens can:
- Identify and report water waste directly to agencies
- View incidents of water waste around them
- Receive alerts to conserve when it’s absolutely essential
- Educate themselves on conservation techniques
- Engage with the water community through social media
How And Why Citizens Participate
Identifying and reporting waste can be accomplished by opening the app, snapping a photo of the problem, using the GPS on the device to provide location, and clicking a button to submit the issue. Using location and various other factors, it is automatically routed to correct agency and subsequent department, without the users having to understand who directly is responsible for responding to this issue.
Putting Data to Action
For cities, counties, and water districts that deploy the EveryDrop platform, they gain full control over how water waste reports are routed internally, and they are able to create workflows that immediately notify staff and other agencies of any issues reported. In addition, agencies are also able to push these reports into existing work order management systems.
For example, Indio Water Authority is integrating water loss reports directly into their Cityworks Asset Management System so that the operations staff is not required to manage and administer a new software system. Instead, they are able to integrate the crowdsourced reports from EveryDrop into the existing workflow, saving time and ultimately, cost.
For organizations not utilizing an existing software tracking system, EveryDrop’s web based management Console gives the water agencies full control over the submitted water waste reports. Robust workflows allow departments to be notified automatically based on configurable rules and conditions, driven by location, and other user-submitted data. Additionally, executive leadership is harnessing the Console to gain visibility on what’s being reported, where waste is being reported, and how frequently.
Water agencies are always looking for new, innovative methods to engage citizens in the process of reducing water loss. Because this problem has been exacerbated by recent climate conditions, the agencies are increasingly turning to technologies like EveryDrop to streamline reporting and responding to water waste. This, in turn, allows the public to be better served, helps conserve our precious limited resources, and allows for better decision making and policy making.