Whyther: The Why, the How, and the What To Do Behind Vancouver Weather

0.0/5
Whyther is an informative app meant to connect climate change to weather events in Vancouverites’ daily lives and guide responsible household water use in response to current conditions. Our project empowers individuals to contribute to collective action with the goal of maintaining the sewage system’s most environmentally- and community-friendly functioning.

School:

UBC

Course:

Environment and Society (GEOG 410)

Instructors:

  • Loch Brown

City of Vancouver:

  • Heidi Horlacher

Student Team:

  • Vanessa Wedick
  • Alexandra Dimitriou
  • Laure Bourgin
  • Catherine Buglioni
  • Theo Simondetti
  • Ben Tudor
  • Ingrid White,
  • Aliza-Marie Smith
  • Kiren Aujla
  • Katharina Frowein

Term:

Fall 2022

Summary

*Winner HUBBUB 19 People’s Choice

Water is an integral part of our lives; we count on it for survival, our recreation, our day-to-day tasks, and the development of our urban landscapes. Despite this, the state of our water infrastructure— such as sewage drainage and treatment systems— is often completely overlooked by the public.

In combination with Vancouver’s growing population, increasingly frequent extreme weather events such as atmospheric rivers and drought place excessive strain on Vancouver’s sewage system, which isn’t equipped to support high water consumption under these conditions; this can lead to huge volumes of untreated combined sewage entering the ocean, among other adverse effects. While the city is working to improve the system by separating sanitary and storm sewage, Vancouverites can do their part to reduce the load by changing their consumption patterns to collectively meet the objectives of the “Healthy Waters Management Plan.”
Yet, often, the resources and information individuals need to make sustainable decisions are widespread and difficult to find— Whyther, our proposed app, would consolidate weather forecasting with information from Metro Vancouver data platforms (such as the CSO map) to make personalized, real-time recommendations for responsible water use in people’s own neighbourhoods.

While individual action is not the complete answer to climate-change-related problems, Vancouverites can play a meaningful role in reducing the strain on our water systems by changing consumption patterns. Our project aims to empower locals in making short- and long-term sustainable decisions while simultaneously informing them on what extreme weather patterns to expect and what drives these changes. Through our research and team collaboration, we have learnt about the importance of tailoring education and experiences to people’s personal lives, as higher relationality makes people care more; this is applied in Whyther through its high potential for customizability.

 

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