City enters Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge

Pullman enters global competition to fund solutions

YASMEEN WAFAI, Evergreen reporter

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Pullman city leaders are competing for up to $100,000 to fund a data and technology driven approach to water conservation as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge.

City Supervisor Adam Lincoln explained that the city would like to implement smart water meters that would give residents information about their daily water use once a week rather than just once a month when they get their bill.

“How can we get info out to the public about what’s effective?… How do we put that data to use and in the public’s hands? Once a month is not nearly enough,” Lincoln said.

He also said that the data would allow residents to compare their information with their neighbors and allow them to have that information in their hands in real time.

The city also hopes that the data applications will go hand in hand with a strong education campaign that the surrounding universities can get involved in and become vocal about.

Lincoln also noted that the city would like to set up a web based application so that information can be provided to residents through technology. He explained that this would allow data about the use of water from the city as a whole, rather than just one neighborhood.

The Mayors Challenge website said that they want the winning cities to improve the community through creativity and collaboration. Lincoln said the city will be doing just that with the surrounding universities and web developers.

Lincoln also said that they are looking to partner with Avista, because they use a similar technology with electricity data.

“It would take partners like the school district to help get the message throughout all ages of the community,” Lincoln said.

In a meeting led by a trainer from Bloomberg Philanthropies, city leaders discussed potential issues that they wanted to improve.

The Pullman City Council later decided on water conservation once they met with Mayor Glenn Johnson to talk about some of the ideas that were discussed in that meeting.

However, if Pullman does not win any money, Lincoln said this is still a reachable goal.

“There are definitely components we can take on regardless,” Lincoln said.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will choose 35 winning cities in January 2018 to give up to $100,000 to test their ideas. After testing and workshopping the ideas over the course of about half a year, these cities will submit a more refined application for additional millions of dollars to help those ideas become a reality.