Event alert: Delta Community, Business Leaders to Sponsor H2O Hackathon – A Water Challenge 3/27/15 to 3/28/15

For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 15, 2015
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve@hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft;
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 barbara@restorethedelta.org; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta;

Delta Community, Business Leaders to Sponsor
H2O Hackathon – A Water Challenge
Identifying Sustainable Solutions

Stockton, CA – iHUB San Joaquin in partnership with Restore the Delta, the Delta Coalition, Café Coop, the San Joaquin Partnership, the A.G. Spanos Companies and various Delta businesses announced today that they have joined together to sponsor a “H2O Hackathon: A Water Challenge” to identify sustainable solutions for water use. The event will take place March 27th and 28th. “The H2O Hackathon will recruit policy and technology experts on sustainable solutions to key water challenges California faces,” said Kathy Miller, Chair of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

“There are sustainable solutions, and we will bring together the best available intellect and technologies on key aspects of solving these challenges,” added Mike Ammann, executive director of the San Joaquin Partnership and member of iHub San Joaquin. The H2O Hackathon will include seven water conservation challenges for computer programmers and engineers to solve. The challenges include: measuring storm water capture, measuring Delta outflows, utility interactive mapping, smart faucets; ground water restoration; and quick repair of water main breaks. This two-day hackathon and conference will bring together start‐ups, programmers, engineers, undergraduate and graduate students in related disciplines, farmers, urban water agency officials, business leaders, government officials, and environmentalists to solve on-the‐ground challenges for using water in urban and agricultural applications as efficiently as possible. Cash and prizes will be awarded to the winning solutions, selected by a panel of judges.

“The purpose of the H20 Hackathon is to stimulate innovation in the water technology industry that will solve on-the-ground water management challenges in both the urban and agricultural sectors through new applications and systems,” said iHUB Chairperson David Nelson.

“Now is the time to think about our priorities, and it’s the time to discover new ways to conserve the available water supply before we reach the point of no return,” added Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla executive director with Restore the Delta.

The sponsors have recruited California water conservation experts to lead each of the seven challenges. A special panel of judges will select the winning projects in each challenge. The experts include: Measuring Storm Water – Conner Everts, co-facilitator Environmental Water Caucus; Delta Outflows – Tim Stroshane, Policy Director, Restore the Delta; Utility Interactive Mapping – Adam Scow, California Director, Food & Water Watch; and, Smart Water Faucets – Deirdre Des Jardins, California Water Research.

On Friday, March 27th, H2O Hackathon will take place at the Robert Cabral Agricultural Center, 2101 Earhart Ave., Stockton. This portion is open only to the participants.

The next day, Saturday, March 28th, H2O Hackathon will take place at the Hilton Hotel Stockton, 2323 Grand Canal Blvd., Stockton where the winning projects will be announced at a brunch that is open to the public. There is a fee of $30 for the brunch; several scholarships are available for members of the community to attend free of charge.

“San Joaquin County is ground zero for many of the water challenges facing urban and agricultural communities throughout the state. Farmers face the challenges of extended droughts and extreme wet periods that will intensify with the impacts of climate change,” said Central Delta farmer Tom Zuckerman, “A growing urban population, urban water districts, state parks, and wildlife areas face the same challenges.”

“The hackathon is an important effort in bringing together smart and innovative young minds to find solutions to problems and deficiencies that have persisted for a long time. Our region has the expertise and experience to address California’s water challenges,” said Natalia Orfanos, Director of Communications for the A.G. Spanos Companies.

The H20 Hackathon – A Water Challenge was conceived during the summer of 2014 by San Joaquin County entrepreneurs, business leaders, government officials, and environmental leaders who saw a need for the development of new water technology in order to contend with the impacts of severe drought.

A hackathon – combining the words “hack” and “marathon” – is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects. Sometimes there is a hardware component as well.

Examples of the challenges include:
Smart Water Faucets – “We are seeking smart water faucets that will tell the consumer how much water they are using, how much it is costing, and how much water is in their local water reservoir or underground supply,” said Esperanza Vielma director for business incubator Café Coop. “This information would give consumers real-time information on cost and availability of water, and a strong incentive to conserve.”

Utility Interactive Mapping – “We are seeking a prototype that allows utility workers to upload through smart phones or other devices the differences they find between water main maps and the reality underground. This information gap is a big problem which prevents utilities from fixing underground water main leaks that waste 10% of California’s water,” added Esperanza Vielma.

Obtain more information about, or register to participate in, the H2O Hackathon here: http://www.h2ohackathon.org/

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