1 in 9 people in the world have no access to clean drinking water. Closer to home, BC encounters hundreds of wildfires a year and we need freshwater to fight them! Despite this fact, Canadians have the world's second largest water footprint, using 329 litres a day. The more shocking fact was that only 10% of this water was used for drinking.
Given this information, we were inspired to empower the average household consumer to reduce water usage by removing 3 barriers that they face:
- Awareness: Water meters are buried underground in Vancouver.
- Affordability: Water meters are currently available for garden hoses, but at a cost of ~$100.
- Accessibility: Data is not contextualized, users do not know what numbers mean.
What it does
Flow is a toolkit that users can install in their own homes to measure their water usage.
- Install the arduino into their faucet.
- Install the app or go to the website.
- Track their water usage by tap - past 24 hours, daily, monthly.
- Access their scoreboards - where each user has a profile and there is friendly competition to see who is more efficient.
- Smart Notifications - Notifications for excessive/more than average usage of water, and Notifications for Scoreboard changes.
Flow removes these 3 barriers by:
- Awareness: Water usage at users' fingertips through our Flow website and app.
- Affordability: It costs only $30 to buy the hardware and install it.
- Accessibility: Flow explains exactly what users' water usage has looked like for the past day, month and few months.
How I built it
- Arduino: hardware to measure water flow
- React, Next.js, HTML, CSS: Building website and application.
- Figma: Wireframing and Prototyping
Challenges I ran into
Setting up the arduino was a challenge, because we did not have a WiFi module. Without the WiFi module, we can't get live data from the arduino into database.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Being able to incorporate hardware like the arduino to support our ideas.
What I learned
Awareness of green initiatives like water wastage starts at home. Initiatives like these can be inexpensive, just approximately $30.
What's next for Flow
- Learning algorithm to detect and report abnormal usages of water through the usage of notifications
- e.g. “You’ve spent more time brushing your teeth than normal today”
- e.g. “We may have detected a leaky faucet”
- Vacation mode: No water is expected to be used this period of time, notify the user of water usage
- Hardware extensions to automatically limit the flow of water when excessive usage is detected
- External incentivization (Money, Prizes) to have high scores on the “scoreboard”