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Gamifying smart water choices at Europe‘s largest coding marathon

A team of hackathon participants who developed an innovative app to promote sustainable water consumption – WatApp – won HackZurich this week.  The event is a non-stop 40-hour hackathon event in Switzerland and is Europe‘s largest coding marathon.

With water scarcity affecting billions of people globally each year, hackathon participants were asked to develop an app to change the public’s water habits and increase awareness of water threats that would improve water sustainability.

“I would never have imagined how much water goes into the development of consumer goods, particularly through indirect consumption. If we can make more people aware of sustainable water consumption, we can drive meaningful change.” said Konstantinos Samaras-Tsakiris, a member of the WatApp team.

Team WatApp’s social gaming app helps people make smart water choices in their everyday lives, by suggesting more sustainable choices using educational gaming features. The app also helps to build long-term water-saving habits, and lets participants share their results with friends.

The app also presents water savings within a local context, for example, if you live in Switzerland the app will compare the amount of water you save to the daily average water consumption of a Swiss person.

The event was sponsored by Xylem, a global water technology company.

“This year, Europe experienced the worst drought in 500 years. It has never been clearer how urgently we need to develop new, innovative, digital solutions to improve water sustainability,” said Hayati Yarkadas, Xylem’s President for Europe. “The participants in the annual Xylem Water Challenge are inspiring examples of the potential within the next generation of innovators. Their passion for solving real-world water problems will help make our world more sustainable.”

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