3 Crazy ways that Apps can Help California’s Drought

July 17, 2015 | Raj Srivastav

3 Crazy ways that Apps can Help California's Drought
3 Crazy ways that Apps can Help California's Drought

California is in its 4th year of drought conditions and much of the Golden State is less golden and, well….brown. Our great state is beginning to resemble a lizard’s back and the southern Californian drought is even driving people to drink sewage (completely sterilized of course!). In Silicon Valley, our lawns are dying and our cars are filthy – but we, along with most of California, reduced our water consumption by nearly 30% in the last month.

It isn’t enough. This is the worst drought in the recorded history of California and climate scientists think that it may be the state’s worst in over 500 years. We desperately need clever ideas and innovations that can help save even more water. Fortunately, mobile applications can be leveraged in several ways to quickly and inexpensively save water.

Here are 3 app ideas waiting to be developed :

1. Monitoring Apps

Monitoring water expenditure is one of the simplest ways that a mobile app can help the California drought. These can be very ‘dumb’ apps or they can be ‘smart’ apps; at SDI, we have made successful, money-making apps that fall under both categories.

A ‘dumb’ app can be developed to help people monitor their own water usage. This mobile app involves app features like a shower timer, a water usage calculator (the best calculate not only personal water usage, but the amount of water it takes to produce an item), and informs users of changes in local water restrictions. Apps that monitor water consumption can even be used to calculate how much a water bill will be – a feature anyone looking to save some cash will love.

Smart monitoring apps are even more effective. Smart irrigation apps can turn on and off sprinkler systems depending on recent weather conditions and take into account local restrictions. An app can even be designed to calculate how much rain hits your roof during a storm and how much of that water is saved into your catchment container.

Keep in mind, these ideas can be applied anywhere: droughts affect hundreds of millions of people around the globe. A good idea can save money and lives – while still putting cash in your pocket. Hire a developer, save water and make a difference!

2. Water “Edu-tainment” and Gaming Apps

An edu-tainment app is developed that uses app and gaming techniques to help subscribers learn and remember new information. Apps like New Best Friends are developed to help children learn how to read, do arithmetic and develop complex problem-solving skills. There is no reason that these same techniques can’t be leveraged to help people learn about water conservation.

Edu-tainment apps are a great tool for helping people learn about water consumption and the dangers of drought. Animated and interactive apps have been proven to help children absorb and comprehend information much easier – why not make an app that entertains users while simultaneously teaches them about water conservation?

A compulsion loop is a method borrowed from video games and it is designed to keep people engaged. Apps can make use of this concept by offering in-app prizes or reward points when subscribers meet certain water saving goals; the idea is to offer something that users want and need to be continually engaged to get.

Gaming and edutainment apps methods can be borrowed for nearly any subject. These methods are all about providing a successful service (an app that teaches people) and keeping people engaged with the service (an app that rewards people who save water); they can and should be utilized across all apps!

3. Social Support and Sharing Apps

While “drought-shaming” is a popular trend for many drought apps, there is no reason that an app can’t provide support for water conservationists. An app that offers the ability to upload photos of brown lawns or drought-resistant yards can help encourage others to do the same to their own home.

An app can also be created that compares your usage to other subscribers, allowing users to see how they are faring compared to their friends. It also can help highlight super-conservationists who can then post discussions on their water saving tactics.

Additionally, people love sharing, so the ability to share with friends and family how much water is being saved is an excellent engagement feature. Sharing in-app posts and tips is another great way to connect users and increase your subscriber base.

This type of app also provides a space for subscribers to share information with one another – and provides a place to post relevant information. A social media website can be used to help people choose plants that are native and drought resistant, or it can help them find local businesses that offer water-saving materials and services.

But Wait, There’s More!

There are plenty of great ideas out there and there is no reason your idea can’t be come the water-saving app that California needs. Mobile app development is the solution to many problems. There is also no reason that any great idea you have can’t be turned into an app!

Envision your idea, and then contact the app makers at SDI to turn your idea into the next big thing! Call now at 408.805.0495 for a free consultation and quote.

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