Enterprising technology innovators in California and across the United States are dramatically changing the way we manage, use, plan for and recycle water. Through a variety of techniques, start-ups and established companies alike are raising awareness of the importance of sustainability and the need for people to change their behaviors. From crowd-sourcing new projects to spreading the word via social media, these visionary entrepreneurs are paving the way toward a successful, water-sustainable future.
Here are a few examples of what’s going on in the green technology realm:
This San Francisco-based (and independent) water producer uses “renewable desalination” to develop affordable sources of freshwater to California utilities and agribusinesses. WaterFX advances focus on the use of solar power as a means of desalinating drainage water coming from farms in California’s Central Valley.
Cambrian Innovation’s EcoVolt system leverages bioelectric technology to clean water and generate energy for, among others, a craft brewery located in Cloverdale, California. According to the company’s website, the process “uses electrically active organisms to clean wastewater for reuse while creating a high-quality biogas that helps offset the heat and electricity needed” for the craft brewery process.
Using the EveryDrop LA mobile app, people can identify and report incidences of water waste they find in their local communities. EveryDrop LA also issues conservation alerts (a vital resource during the current California drought), as well as water conservation tips and opportunities to engage through social media with others in the water-conservation community.
Want to see a simulated view of how a dramatic sea-level rise would change the city in which you live and do business? The #DrownYourTown hashtag, launched by marine biologist Andrew David Thaler, uses Google Earth and GIS modeling to create 3-D illustrations of “drowned” cities such as San Francisco, New York and London.
With this iPhone/iPad app, you can tell precisely how much water you lose from a water leak. Tap the screen each time a drip falls from a faucet and Drip Detective will determine the average drip rate. From there, it calculates the amount of water wasted daily, weekly, monthly and annually.
This app aims to conserve water in a fun way. Homeowners and small businesses can play the H2O Tracker game to gauge how much water they use, while also saving money and earning points toward prizes. More importantly, H2O Tracker offers helpful tips on reducing water consumption.
Speaking of games, “green gamification” refers to the use of applied game design to raise sustainability awareness, while also boosting conservation engagement through online games. Gamification works by “meeting our basic human needs for achievement, appreciation, reciprocity and a sense of control over our little corner of life.”
Thousands of small businesses across the U.S. are members of the Green Business Bureau (GBB), which offers a “gamified online sustainability tool” to help manage and report on a library of more than 400 green initiatives.
These and other initiatives demonstrate how, spurred on by the perils of the ongoing California drought, entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, are “flowing” with ideas to conserve water in the 21st century.