Student’s mobile app aids water conservation

Following two of the driest years on record, consumers could conserve more water with help from an SF State student's award-winning app concept.

Photo of Wayman Duong

Wayman Duong, SF State senior studying information systems, is set to graduate in May.

The app, My Water Use Management, would allow users to set personal water use goals, get notifications and track household use. My Water Use Management was one of just five projects awarded the top prize at the Utility of Tomorrow Innovation Contest run by software developer SAP.

App creator Wayman Duong, a senior in information systems, collaborated with two students from the City University of Beijing, Bik Ying Chin and Chui Kwan Lam. For their win, the teammates will have the opportunity to continue developing their app at a weeklong SAP-sponsored workshop in Palo Alto this summer.

Duong hopes his app will attract the attention of utility companies.

“Water companies have the data already,” said Duong. “If they deployed an app like this, let customers track their own water use, that would be ideal.”

Though not available for immediate use, My Water Use Management could be a valuable tool for utility companies and customers alike as water resources diminish.

Closely monitoring water meters can have unexpected benefits. According to Duong’s research, The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s 2010 investment in smart water meters led to the discovery of many unknown leaks in the system.

Screenshot of My Water Use Management app

If utility companies adopted the app, customers could track their use in real time, set goals for conservation and even pay bills.





My Water Use Management would allow households to identify hours of peak water use, helping to pinpoint leaks and behaviors that could be modified.

“Everyone should be watching how much water they use,” said Duong. “I started conserving more last year when I heard that California reservoirs were drying up. For an app, this seemed like the biggest issue we could take on.”

Duong and his teammates created the concept for My Water Use Management last fall while enrolled in the course Building Mobile Business Applications (ISYS 573) with Leigh Jin, associate professor of information systems. Jin encouraged her students to enter SAP’s contest; SF State students have participated in previous SAP contests to great success.

“We try to give students the tools to create professional work, and they have proven themselves capable,” said Jin. “SF State is training the next generation of tech innovators, right here at the edge of Silicon Valley.”

-- Gianna Devoto