American University of Cairo
The Desert Development Center (DDC) at The American University in Cairo (AUC) is hosting Cairo’s first-ever Water Hackathon tomorrow at AUC New Cairo campus. The Water Hackathon is an intensive brainstorming and programming marathon for software developers and designers from around the globe collaborate on new tools for addressing water-related issues. In this weekend-long competition, coders, technology experts and water experts will work in teams to develop a technology to mitigate identified water challenges such as sanitation, flooding, drought, irrigation and watershed management. At the 36 hour mark, teams will present their innovations to a panel of technology experts, water experts and end users. The best product developments will receive awards. In addition to Cairo, Water Hackathons are taking place simultaneously in Bangalore, Kampala, London, Nairobi and Washington D.C.
“Developments in information and communications technology have proven invaluable in making water more accessible, sustainable and safer for people worldwide,” said Paul Rau, Research Department, DDC. Rau points out that during the event, water experts will be working directly with teams of programmers, software engineers and data specialists combining their technical skills to help mitigate the water challenges faced in their respective countries.
According to Rau, the Water Hackathon may not solve many of the major infrastructure challenges Egypt faces, yet it will offer solutions to problems that can be solved with software and technology. “Software developers, water experts and users may find a way to turn on water pumps with an SMS message, or develop water usage public awareness application for phones or computers. The goal is to use local technology and water experts to solve local water challenges,” he added.
The Desert Development Center (DDC) was established in 1979 by the American University in Cairo as a center of excellence in applied research and training to promote sustainable development in Egypt’s reclaimed desert areas. The DDC maintains an extensive program of research, training, and informational activities to meet its objectives increasing the productivity and incomes of desert settlers while conserving and enhancing the natural resource base of the desert environment. In addition to working directly with communities, the DDC operates two research stations on desert land where experiments are conducted, technologies are evaluated, and demonstrations are maintained.