Creek Watch lets everyday citizens help authorities monitor and manage water conditions.
IBM has partnered with California's State Water Control Board to launch an iPhone app that allows citizens to report unsafe or polluted water conditions to state authorities.
That app, called Creek Watch, lets users upload their reports in real-time to a database that's monitored by the board.
"With about 800 miles of creeks in Santa Clara County alone, we need innovative technologies like this one to empower the community to help us continuously improve our water quality and the environment," said Carol Boland, a watershed biologist for the city of San Jose," in a statetment.
"An amazing characteristic of IBM's Creek Watch app is that it's accessible to anyone that has an iPhone and doesn't require a huge commitment to do something that will really benefit the creeks," said Boland.
IBM officials said the app, which takes advantage of the iPhone's GPS capabilities, allows the typical California resident to participate in the management of the state's ecosystem without extensive equipment or training.
The company noted that, according to a UN study, contaminated water claims more lives worldwide each year than all wars, crimes, and terrorism combined.
"Creek Watch lets the average citizen contribute to the health of their water supply—without PhDs, chemistry kits and a lot of time," said Christine Robson, of IBM Research. "Harnessing the crowdsourced data movement for a cause people care about is a win-win-win for citizens, local water boards, and IBM's desire to solve big data challenges," said Robson.
Creek Watch is available as a free download from Apple's online App Store.