Eric Adler, Sisters High School graduate in the class of 2010, is making waves with his self-designed water conservation sensor.

Adler saw the need for something to monitor water usage, and sees the need especially in the high deserts of Central Oregon.

“We are lucky to have a lot of water, but it won’t last forever,” said Adler.

Adler, originally from West Linn, moved to Sisters in 8th grade and had the unique experience that most Sisters kids do in their education at Sisters schools, through the outdoor and arts programs specifically.

“IEE (Interdisciplinary Education Expedition) was hugely impactful for me in learning about conservation and the effect on our environment. As well as the woodshop classes with Cosby were hugely impactful,” he said.

Adler throughout high school was a self-made entrepreneur, buying and taking apart and rebuilding motorcycles and bikes and reselling them.

“I knew I didn’t want to work for anybody, and I liked making money on my own,” he said.

Flash forward to a few years later after college, he has his own tech-startup business, Flume.

Adler attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and majored in mechanical engineering. At first, he didn’t really know what he wanted to do with the major.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with that; I realize I probably should’ve gone into business, but I knew I wanted to be tech focused,” he said.

His business began its startup process in 2015, coming out of his senior project with a team who sought to come up with a design for a water consumption monitor/sensor. They decided to do something about this because of the California drought at the time.

“We would love to wakeboard at lakes and we couldn’t because the lakes would be dried up, so we had it impacting us in every way,” he said.

The idea behind the sensor project was to help people to understand their water consumption and “make water conservation sexy.”

Adler and his team went through the accelerated course classes at Cal Poly and were able to get investors. The business officially launched a year ago with its own website, investors and selling of the sensor and data system. Adler is the CEO of Flume, and his main job is to recruit investors and work with cities to get the sensor into metropolitan as well as rural areas.

The sensor works as a way to measure water consumption, which is a difficult set of data to measure. The small sensor attaches to a water meter and sends the information through a home or city’s WiFi system to a mobile device and it produces realtime data as to how many gallons are used in a home per hour and per day.

There are two pieces to the sensor; the “deck,” that is similar to an Amazon Echo, that goes inside the home to pick up the sensor’s data, then the sensor itself which attaches to the water

meter.

“The protocol for it is sort of like walkie-talkies, where the data from the sensor is communicated to the deck and then onto a phone so the user can easily read their own water consumption,” Adler explained.

Adler says it is a user-friendly device, and takes less than 15 minutes to install, and if a user runs into issues, the team is ready to communicate with the customer via instant chat. The app is then downloadable for iPhone and Android that gives the user a set of data they can check on and read.  

“We want it to be user-friendly, and once people start using the sensor, they see how much they use,” he said.

Then through awareness of the data, they are able to see a huge reduction in consumption home to home. The sensor for homeowners helps reduce a water bill, and for a city, helps the city become more sustainable in their water consumption.

The sensor has been picked up by many major metropolitan areas in California; Texas; Oregon and the Southwest; as well as Chicago, which is a different market entirely, seeking the sensor for its effectiveness in measuring a leak during a winter where homes and businesses suffer from frozen pipes.

“People are also protecting their homes from water damage because it is able to detect a leak and will notify you when there is an abnormal level of water leakage,” Adler said.

The business in the past year has seen huge growth, and has received almost $50 million in funding.

“This sensor fits within a huge market for something that can help with conservation,” Adler said.

Adler plans to present this sensor to the City of Sisters and get word spread out to regions across Oregon.

“It is pretty unanimous across cities and towns to use this sensor because it helps keep water costs down for the city, as well as for homeowners,” he said.

For information or to obtain a sensor, visit flumetech.com. The sensor is also available through Amazon; search for Flume Tech.