Thanks to the prolific ineptitude of elected officials, the water in Flint, Michigan has been tainted with lead and undrinkable for more than a year. And while the federal government has, just last week, finally gotten around to earmarking $170 million for infrastructure improvements in the blighted city, tangible relief for its residents is still months if not years away. A new app developed by the University of Michigan with backing by Google will help those living in Flint track the rebuilding progress.
Computer science researchers at U of M's Flint and Ann Arbor campuses developed the Mywater-Flint app (as well as a website) with financial and technical support from the internet search giant. The app will provide tools so that residents can monitor water-testing results and the progress of pipeline replacements. Water and filter distribution centers will also be highlighted. The app can even predict where lead contamination levels are highest, based on the age and value of a home (hint: it's the oldest houses in the poorest neighborhoods).
Hopefully, this new service will provide a modicum of transparency for those affected by the crisis, though given how little progress has been made to date, any insights gleaned going forward likely won't do much to dissuade the public's just and righteous anger with their elected officials.