App helps farmers crowdsource water during water crisis
Western Sydney University's expertise in water management is providing an efficient tool for monitoring scarce groundwater reserves as large parts of India bake in extreme drought and heat. The MyWell smartphone app is enabling Indian farmers to monitor and manage scarce groundwater in a distributed and localized way to monitor water levels in wells that supply drinking and irrigation water. MyWELL is part of the highly-successful project led by Western Sydney University and funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) through the MARVI project (Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention).
Professor Basant Maheshwari, lead scientist in the MARVI project that developed the app, said "the MyWELL app supports the efforts of communities to be informed about the availability of local groundwater through the efforts of local, trusted volunteers called Bhujal Jankaars (BJs—a Hindi word that means "groundwater-informed"). These volunteers act as the intermediary between local people, organizations and governments in monitoring water levels though data collection in the MyWELL app."
"This technology can be readily used in other countries, developing or developed, to manage water supplies more effectively," said Professor Maheshwari. "By working alongside local people, building simple and repeatable skills, we can slow down the rate that water is taken out of the ground. These issues are common in many countries and that's where we can readily extend the innovation to empower other communities to become more informed about the precious groundwater reserves."