Water Hackathon, sponsored by the World Bank's Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), Indian Institute of Human Settlements and India Water Portal in October 2011

Last weekend was the Water Hackathon, sponsored by the World Bank's Water and Sanitation Program (WSP),  Indian Institute of Human Settlements and India Water Portal.  It was a fantastic event that brought together dedicated people from the water sector and software developers to create applications that can literally put solutions in the palm of your hand.

The event was at the IIITB campus at Electronics City in Bangalore. There were almost 100 people who came and a total of 16 teams of developers, who picked from 14 problem statements or created their own challenge. (To see a list of the problem statements click here.)

The event started off Friday evening with a series of speeches from the World Bank, Advisor to the Prime Minister Sam Pitroda, Mr. Arun Goel, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, and Mr Naimur Rahman from One World. They shared their experience of using technology to help solve problems and the influence mobile solutions can have. By using data and mobile technology, people can improve their lives and experience with government and each other. Mobile applications also provide quicker feedback mechanisms so that applications can be improved faster and solutions made more effective.

Excited over the potential of these solutions to change lives set the mood for the whole weekend. Developers and a handful of water experts gathered at the IIITB campus Saturday morning to kick off the event. After introduction of the ideas, groups formed and everyone started to work out how toattack these problems and structure solutions. As the day went on, with food and coffee being amply supplied, the teams stayed and worked, some throughout the night, churning out their solutions and problem-solving their way to workable demos.

The youngest hacker present, 14 year old Parthiv Shah made this video that exemplified the event.

The next day, presentations were given and a truly impressive collection of work was shown.  (Click here to see the live stream of the presentations.) There were several applications that helped you track and rate available public toilets, register complaints about water services, find better ways to track your water usage, and even a project that aimed to attach a sensor to your smartphone that can assess water quality.

Given how great some of the projects are, the judges couldn't rank the top 6 teams so they created two tiers. The top 3 groups were:

Contestant's NameTeam's nameProblem Statement
Yashas ShettyJugaad sensors1. low cost water quality tests and measurement
2. Public access maps, data of water quality                                                                            3.Android App
Samuel Rajkumar
Sujith Kumar
Mohor Mukherjee
Jonathan Wilson
Saurabh Levin
Ankit Modi
Animesh GhoshPrithviInconsistent and unpredictable water supply to slums
Akansha Singh
Shefali Das
Govind Rao K.S
Ashrith Kulai
Anup Warnulkar
Parthiv ShahPWXlong term data from field / projects using SMS
Rajesh Shah
Vamsee Kanakala

The 2nd group of teams were:

Contestant's NameTeam's nameProblem Statement
Raghvendra SabooPeeQlocating and rating of public restroom in indian cities
Anenth Guru
Akshit Mahajan
Pradeep BhattHackers for changeComplaint Redressal
policy watch
Aswin Kumar
Vandana GopalS3V2Kcomplaint & redressal
Sadique Ali
Kumar Venkatarawm
Serthil Kumar
Vijayaluxmi Sinha
Saket Bisani

Even though these projects are not close to done yet, everyone involved is committed to completing them. The WSP and India Water Portal will be following up on these projects and hopefully bringing not only the top 6 but a few more to fruition.