WeTap – New Android Smartphone App Maps Water Fountains

drinking water fountainThirsty? There’s a map for that.

Smartphones are a growing trend, and these days, there’s an app for just about anything you can think of – even clean water. Last year, we wrote about “FLOW” – an Android smartphone app that lets people snap photos of broken water pumps in developing countries, ensuring faster repair. We also mentioned, in an older post, an iPhone app called “Oasis Places,” created by Thermos, which allows users to track the locations of drinking fountains in the U.S., add new fountains, comments and pictures, and rate the water on criteria such as coldness, location, cleanliness and flavor. When it comes to helping other people kick their bottled water habit, “Oasis Places” sounds promising. However, when I checked the app store on my iPhone this morning, it was nowhere to be found. I even tried searching phrases like “water fountains” and “clean water,” with no luck.

Not to worry. The Pacific Institute is working with Google Application developers to launch a new app for Android-based smartphones called “WeTap.” Just like “Oasis Places,” WeTap allows users to map drinking water fountains with comments, pictures and water quality ratings. The disappearance of public drinking fountains has led to an increase in plastic bottled water sales, resulting in an overall negative environmental impact. Crowdsourcing apps like “WeTap” are meant to reverse this trend by encouraging users to carry a refillable, reusable water bottle while on-the-go. At first, only Android users will be able to use this app to map fountains, but they hope to make it available to any smartphone eventually. In the meantime, anyone with access to a computer or smartphone with a browser can still go online to see the water fountain maps. For more information, visit WeTap.org.


Charity Tuesday: Water for People

Water for People logoThis #charitytuesday, we are calling attention to the work of Water for People, a nonprofit organization dedicated to innovative, sustainable clean water solutions in 11 different countries in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Water for People is not just another water charity. The core value that makes this organization unique is sustainability – a drive to create solutions that last.

One of their most innovative solutions lies in a partnership with PlayPumps International and the Case Foundation. PlayPumps are small merry-go-rounds that pump water from underground into a water tank as children spin around on them. The water can then be drawn from a tap directly on the tank.

Water for People also works through local partnerships with government and private organizations, calling on communities to finance their own clean water efforts, and training them to build their own clean water and sanitation systems, so that the projects last beyond those that are normally funded by a one-time monetary grant. This is part of what makes their solutions ¬†sustainable. What’s more, they recently launched an online platform called FLOW (Field Level Operations Watch) that uses mobile phones and GPS to monitor how well water systems in the developing world are functioning. This monitoring system ensures that broken pumps and wells in need of repair are not left untouched – once again ensuring that the projects last well beyond the first drop of clean water that’s produced.

Individuals and organizations can get involved with Water for People by spreading the word through online media, sponsoring fundraising events, shopping the online store or making a donation online.