Our drinking water begins like a "teardrop in the sky." Rainwater collects in lakes, and flows below and above ground, through rivers, reservoirs, and tributaries, and into the seas. Yet by the time this water reaches our faucets, many agents may have polluted it. We might be drinking water that's corrosive or contains harmful contaminants, such as lead.
We're concerned about our drinking water, but we don't yet have the information we need to understand what's in our water. We may want to get involved in solutions, but we don't have a first step. Water Beacon can be that first step. We're developing a low-cost water sensor network so that people can see and report to what's in their water in an easy way.
Water Beacon will ultimately be a do-it-yourself kit, which can feed into an app that gives you indicators on the quality of your water. You'll see and compare metrics about drinking water at home and at a community level. These results can be used as an API for news organizations and non-profits to democratize our understanding of water quality.
After hearing about recent events in Flint, Michigan, where citizens suffered lead poisioning due to contaminated drinking water from the Flint River, a surface water source. This happened despite assurances from government officials that the water was safe to drink. Computer Engineer Moses McCall and Designer Joshua Korenblat decided to take action. They noticed patterns of social inequality in people's access to safe drinking water. What if data about drinking water can come from the people instead? Enter Water Beacon, a non-profit water reporting network.
Water Beacon is an app that will display a map of drinking water sources in the United States. You can zoom-in to where you live. Using a home sensor, you can see your water metrics on a friendly app dashboard:
- pH (level of acidity)
- Conductivity (metals in your water)
- Turbidity (water flow)
We're creating our first prototype of Water Beacon for the town of New Paltz, New York, which plans to have a digital public display of environmental data. The prototype will be in the Walkill River. We'd love to collaborate with other creators, educators, and activists involved in water equality issues. Contact us!