California Drought Driving Tech Boom

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Every rain cloud has a silver lining–and nowhere is that more true than in California, even though there haven’t been many rain clouds overhead in some time.

California’s record four-year drought is driving a new technology boom, with several startups focused on the potential of marrying smartphone technology to water conservation.

One of these new startups is Oakland-based Edyn, which offers smartphone users the ability to monitor and control watering conditions in gardens with an easy-to-use app. A solar-powered sensor is placed into the soil and then relays real-time information about growing conditions right to the user’s pocket.

Edyn founder Jason Aramburu, a Princeton University ecology graduate and gardening enthusiast, told CBS Sacramento that his app is customized to each gardeners’ unique setup, can make tailored growing recommendations based on what’s planted, and can even let users know when it’s time to harvest.

“Today, when every drop of water counts, it’s really important to be precise,” Aramburu told CBS.

Edyn solar sensors are now reportedly sold in about 900 Home Depots nationwide.

Joining Edyn in the emerging drought tech space is Rachio, a smartphone app that allows users to program their sprinklers from the palm of their hand. The app keeps track of weather and watering schedules to make sure not a single drop of water gets wasted as California gardeners become more diligent and water-conscious during the shortage.

“It’s one of those products you get and you’re like, ‘How did I live without that?’ Electric Imp co-founder Hugo Fiennes told CBS. Electric Imp created the technology on which Rachio and Edyn are based.

The Rachio system costs $250, while Edyn solar sensors sell for $99.


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