IDEA HARVEST: Idea contest for “citizen scientists”

1. Water Self-Governance

Concerned with the problem of efficient irrigation water management in Ararat Valley, the youth from Gyumri propose to develop a website that would allow water users to independently, without the interference of the operator,make electronic calculation and respective payment for the needed and factually spent water volume. The website would allow to participate in the decision-making process, learn about the decisions and other documents produced by the WUAs, submit online applications, track the applications process and ensure feedback. The implementation of the idea would contribute to the participatory, transparent and responsible management of WUAs.

2. Quench Your Thirst While Saving Water for Generations

Cold drinking fountains are one of Armenia’s visiting cards and are an integral part of the urban landscape. However, today we are facing two problems: careless flooding of water from the fountains and decreasing their number. A group of resourceful youth proposes a mobile application, which would allow a thirsty person to identify the closest drinking fountain and show the direction to reach it.In order to use the water of the fountain more efficiently, a sensor will be placed on it to make fountaining stronger when the fountain and weaker, when getting away from it. This would save water 3-4 times without switching it off.

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3. “Smart” Water-Metering System

The inefficient use of water resources, incomplete databases, lack of monitoring of the irrigation system, and the water-metering technical problems provoked this group of “citizen scientists” to think of making the whole system “smart.” To this end, they propose to install a water meter on the head of the plot, the data of which will be inserted into a database through “smart” technology and become available on the mobile phone of the water user. As a result, the water user will pay for the actually spent volume of water. All the procured equipment will become the property of the water users and will be maintained by them. This equipment is mobile and may be easily operated even by non-professionals.

4. ECOSGreen: “Water-Traffic Light” for Efficient Water Use

The future of the drinking water in Khachpar community is in reliable hands. The “citizen scientists” decided to control the flow of the water coming through the central water pipe to the village through by installing a flow-meter which is hooked to the online system of the “Veolia Water” receiver-center. At the same time, a “Water-Traffic Light” with red, yellow and green signals and connected to the receiver-center will be installed in a conspicuous place in the community. Depending upon the degree of water usage in the community signals of different colors would light to inform the residents about the volumes of water consumed in the community with the red light to alert the wastage.

5. Water Flow Calculation via Remote Sensing

A group of “citizen scientists” proposes to harness high technologies to help the farmers, by using the Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI) revealed through the analysis of the infrared and short-wave infrared signals received from satellites. The rays reflect the moisture contained in the plants. Combining it with the content of the dry elements of the plant it is possible to decide the exact amount of water needed by the plant and regulate it.

6. Interactive Film-Game: “A Future with or without Water”

By proposing an interactive film-game, the “citizen scientists” allow everyone to become the hero of the film and see today’s or tomorrows future ‘without water’ or ‘with plenty of water’ due to one’s behavior or the behavior of one’s relatives. Questions and multiple choice answers are proposed to the viewer. Based on the responses selected during the screening, the complete picture which is likely for the given situation is formed.

7. Trap for Garbage

Innovation does not necessarily depend on high technological support. For PokrVedicommunity, “Citizen Scientists” propose to address the problem of the garbage and water gutters, which accumulate in the irrigation network and prevent the water flow, through the installation of garbage traps. As a result, the water pipes will remain clean, there will be no obstructions, the quality of water will improve, and the surrounding will become free of a stench. The nets full of the gutter can be emptied and reused. It is also possible to sort and recycle the collected garbage. Cooperation between the local authorities and the WUAs servicing the irrigation system is vital to ensure the proper disposal of the trash. Such innovation has not been applied in Armenia, yet, and may have good prospects of replication after piloting.