Interactive Rain Barrel Makes a Splash at SXSW Eco

How essential is water to our everyday lives?

This kind of question is not far from the minds of communities experiencing extended drought, and it’s the same question we’re asking attendees to consider at the annual SXSW Eco conference in Austin, Texas, over the next few days.

Green Mountain Energy is calling attention to the issue of water scarcity with an interactive display at the conference in the form of a 500-gallon rain barrel set up in the central hallway at the Austin Convention Center. Inspired by the global art project created by Candy Chang, the rain barrel is used as a giant chalk board, encouraging attendees to fill in a blank next to the phrase, “Before it’s dry, I want to…”

The connection between energy and water may not be immediately apparent, but nearly 13 percent of energy used in the U.S. is consumed in the treatment, distribution, reclamation or usage of water, the equivalent annual energy consumption of roughly 40 million Americans. This interactive artistic display will complement many of the panels at this year’s conference that bring attention to water as a dwindling resource and will discuss solutions to the drought affecting 25% of the country.

Attendees are encouraged to write their “water wish” in chalk on the barrel and share pictures of their contributions via social media. You can track the conversation by following @greenmtnenergy on Twitter, or come visit us at the conference and share your own water conservation tips with #greenmountainenergy!