Sixth Graders Design App to Combat California’s Water Crisis

These five tech-savvy kids are out to help residents conserve water.

(Photo: 'The Fresno Bee'/YouTube)

May 6, 2015· 0 MIN READ
Jamilah King is a TakePart staff writer covering the intersection of race/ethnicity, poverty, gender, and sexuality.

California is in the fourth year of its historic drought, and everyone from Gov. Jerry Brown to local residents is working to find a solution. That includes a group of sixth graders from Fresno, who are trying to find funding for a new app they’ve developed that helps residents monitor their water usage.

The app, which doesn’t yet have a name, is based on a challenge to Fresno residents to conserve 20 gallons of water each day. The kids used the city’s data on daily water usage and created charts that show how information from individual water meters travels to municipal computers. This app stands apart from others because it’s built like a game: The more water you save, the more points you earn, and you’re rewarded with virtual gold coins.

“We wanted to make this app kid-friendly, so we added coins,” Noah Arsitio, one of the sixth graders, told California news station KQED. “For every gallon you save for the 20-gallon challenge, you earn one coin, until you meet the 20-gallon challenge. After that you earn 10 coins.”

They presented their design to Fresno’s City Hall, which donated $5,000 to the enterprise. In total, the boys need about $100,000 to make the app a reality.

Listen to more about the project here: