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.