An App That Could Help Solve California’s Water Shortage Just Won TechCrunch’s 2014 Hackathon

Shower with friends
Neil Mansilla presents his idea for Shower With Friends at the the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 Hackathon on Sunday. TechCrunch

A mobile app called Shower With Friends took first place on Sunday in the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 Hackathon.

But don’t take the name too literally. The app doesn’t actually encourage you to share a shower with your friends, but rather to compete with friends while you shower (alone) in a game to reduce water consumption. The idea is to encourage environmentally-friendly behaviour.

The app, developed by Neil Mansilla, Bob Pielock, Tarandeep Bali, George Perry, and Vivek Chopra, monitors how long you spend in the shower and notifies you via text message whether you used more or less gallons of water compared to the previous day. The information can be shared with friends to compete over who can take the shortest shower.

We like this idea, especially as a fun way to conserve water in drought-stricken states like California. It intends to tackle the drought problem by reducing everyone’s shower time by three minutes, the app creators said during their presentation.

A total of 132 teams participated in the competition. An app called Blitz was the first runner-up.