Thursday, May 5, 2011

Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink

I’ve been doing crowd-sourcing research for my 9-5, and I ran across this. I’m passionate about the whole bottled water challenge. I understand the issues; I’ve seen Tapped; I carry my Sigg bottles almost everywhere. On the flip side, I think it’s good and healthy for people to drink water, and bottled water is a modern convenience that seems potentially vital in this age of sugary sodas and obesity.

I keep thinking back to “the good ol’ days” when people didn’t buy water or carry it around with them like pack mules. What did they do? They drank from water fountains. Just try to find a public water fountain these days--It’s challenging. Peter Gleick (aka this week's lab crush) and Google to the rescue! The WeTap project uses crowd-sourcing to map public drinking fountains. 

They are looking for volunteers to help with the project in the SF Bay Area and in LA. All you need is an Android-based smart phone and a gmail account. Oh, and a willingness to seek out, test, and post public drinking fountains. If you’re not on the volunteer side, you can still check out the resulting map. The program is in Beta now. I'm not crazy about the current interface, but I'm sure it will get slicker as the project evolves.

SF Gate via Treehugger. Photo by flickr user TPapi (CC license).

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