Participants in the recent Hack4Water hackathon could hardly have missed the irony of our water hack starting on a grey, rainy evening in Cape Town. This hackathon was part of a nationwide challenge in partnership with the Department of Water and Sanitation, along with Open Government Partnership to help address South Africa’s water shortages. Learn more about how to get involved here.
Hackathon participants comprised of a mix of students from Code4CT, professionals who work in the fields of water and food security, developers, designers, journalists and a few other disciplines for good measure. Just the sort of people you need in a room to collaborate.
On Friday evening the group took turns explaining their interest in water as well as sharing ideas on how we can work toward alleviating South Africa’s water crisis.
This paved the way neatly for Saturday morning where each idea was written up and stuck on the wall at Codebridge and then voted on. The votes were tallied and the following four areas were the ones that rose to the top:
- What is the cost of water?
- Where does my water come from?
- What happens when the water runs out?
- Comparing your water usage with your previous usage and with that of you neighbours’?
Each idea then became a team and these groups spent the day working their hacks for water. The results were astounding!
Team 1: Water Impacters
What is the cost of water?
This tool is aimed to help people reduce their water usage and wastage by helping them understand how much water they are using and the cost thereof. To this end team Water Impactors spent the day working out the actual cost of water usage and how one can save money by saving water.
Team 2: The Source
Where does my water come from?
This team wanted to find a way to explain where our water comes from and to get people to understand that by saving water from their source, other users of that source will have access to additional water. For example, farmers might have increased access to water in these cases which could result in food prices being more stable. To this end, the team had a look at the major cities in South Africa and have started to plot out the dams that provide water to each and their current levels compared to the previous year at the same time.
Team 3: Water Apocalypse
What happens when the water runs out?
This team’s mission was simple: to paint a picture of how vital water is to our daily existence and educate the public on this worse case scenario. To do this they lived themselves into a world where there is little to no water and started the process of creating an educational board game that will allow players to engage with the consequences of there being no water.
Team 4: Waterware
Comparing your water usage with your neighbours’?
This team want to give people insight into their water usage by comparing the amount of water they use each month; to how much they used the previous month, to how much water their neighbours are using and then also their ward. They are in the process of setting up a website that compares water usage per ward and neighbourhood.
Impressive for a day’s work, and that on a Saturday too!
All four teams will be submitting a video into the National Water Challenge - keep an eye on the website for these: http://www.hack4water.org.za/
Make sure to submit your own #Hack4Water. All submissions encouraged.