Drought got you down? Get M.A.D.

We were jolted by this recent report in The Washington Post stating that 21 out of 37 of the world’s largest sources of drinking water (underground aquifers) are being depleted faster than they can be refilled. And this is based on a NASA study covering the 10-year period from 2003 to 2013. Distressing news when you consider that approximately one-third of the world’s fresh water comes from aquifers.

As anyone living in California today can tell you, the drought is severe and has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and billions in revenue statewide.

But none of this means it is time to panic.

Rather, it reminds us all of the urgency of this global crisis, and the genuine need to work to find lasting and meaningful solutions that can help to solve this problem.

This is precisely why Samsung ARTIK is sponsoring the Makers Against Drought (MAD) competition, which has invited developers and makers to help solve the water crisis by combining their ideas and creativity with smart, innovative technology.

Individuals and teams were able to submit their ideas for this competition through the end of May. And, as you can imagine, we received a ton of applications for this challenge. The ARTIK team has been hard at work reviewing those submissions.

From all of the submissions received, we’ve selected 150 to move on to the next round – those individuals and teams will be notified by the end of July. They’ll be sent a free ARTIK Development Kit in early August, and will receive technical support and direct access to our team for feedback.

After November 4, the most promising projects submitted via Devpost will be selected as finalists for completion – and the opportunity for the competition’s grand prize! – by December 2015. Once we’ve received all finalist projects by February 16, 2016, the (*drumroll*) winner will be announced in April 2016.

If your project was one of the 150 selected as a MAD pre-finalist, feel free to share a sneak peek with us. We’d love to see how your submission evolves between now and the beginning of November. You can send your tantalizing tidbits to us via Twitter.

It will take our collective energy and hard work to end the water crisis. We know that the smart use of technology can lead to smart and appropriate uses of our limited resources.

For more information about the Makers Against Drought challenge, check out the rules page, and see the below image to get the big picture.