CA Urged to Reduce Water Intake Due to Drought: Company Plans to Plug Agriculture Water Leaks


droughtThere is a huge disparity in water availability in California, and with the recent news of a drought, it makes it extremely rough on farmers trying to grow food crops. Californians have even been urged to reduce their water consumption by at least 20% in recent days.

Despite the current drought, some areas of the state might expect more than 100 inches of rain annually while others can expect barely an inch, such as in Death Valley. This causes an equally varied and widely fluctuating cost for water – from as little as $50 per acre foot near the state’s capitol to as much as $1500 per acre foot around San Diego. Every drop of water is precious in California, and especially so for agriculture.

A new startup company called PowWow Energy, which recently won the $200,000 Grand Prize at the 2013 Cleantech Open, plans on solving the water shortage problems in the state, and could present a model for water conservation elsewhere. Utilizing innovative technologies including renewable energy, water pumping, and water storage, it plans to make water go as far as possible. The technology developed by the company can even detect anomalies in water pumps so that water flow can be regulated accordingly.

Read: 25 Signs a Global Water Crisis is Coming

The service offered by PowWow will first be tested in California’s wine regions since water is more prevalent there, and more abundant surface irrigation is utilized.

“One day the rancher complained about a leak that created a new pond of water on one of his fields,” the company wrote in its background materials. “It cost him thousands of dollars in repairs, utility bills, etc., not to mention the constant worry of having to check the irrigation system. We considered this problem and realized that we could probably detect the leakage using data on our server.”

PowWow offers its customers a web platform so that they can monitor their water usage and pump behavior. It can even send farmers a mobile text if something is not right. The company hopes to reach at least a half-dozen farms to start out and will expand as its seed funding goals are met.