Wakeboarder invents water-monitoring device after watching drought’s toll on Calif.

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SAN DIEGO — After watching California’s drought have a direct effect on his favorite pastime, one Cal Poly grad wanted to find a solution to California’s water troubles.

Now he has a working device that just made its way to San Diego County, which gives homeowners the power to see their water usage in real time.

“From my first year in 2010 until 2015, those lakes just kept getting lower and lower and lower, until they were just basically mud,”  Eric Adler told FOX 5.

“Lake San Antonio — (there) was nothing there. You couldn’t go wakeboarding on it. Lake Nacimiento — down to 10 percent or below; it’s actually back to that right now. And that just really showed us on a weekly basis how serious the drought was in California, and made us aware of the problem from firsthand experience.”

This inspired Adler and a few other engineering students to come together to help find a solution to water usage and monitoring.

Their solution: “Flume.”

“Flume is a device that attaches to you water meter. That has a radio inside that communicates with another device in your home on your WiFi network,” Tom Kennedy, the General Manager of the Rainbow Municipal Water District, explained.

Most people have little to no idea how much water they’re using on a daily basis. For instance, washing dishes by hand averages about 27 gallons, while a dishwasher averages about six gallons.

Kennedy explains how current water monitoring systems work and fail to help customers understand water usage:

“Right now with our customers, we read their meters once a month. So let’s say you have a leak at your house that started the day after we read the meter. You wouldn’t know until you got your bill, which might be 5-6 weeks later.”

Rainbow is a challenging area. There’s homes that are on four acres the distance between the meter and the house is upwards of a thousand feet. … So it was a really good test to see if it actually worked there.”

After installing Flume on 50 homes in the Rainbow district, Flume revealed seven leaks in just a week’s period of time, Adler said.

With a margin of error at .003 percent, the devices’ water usage monitoring is incredibly accurate in real-time using a mobile device.

You can learn more about Flume here.

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