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Foothill High School in Pleasanton is a semi-finalist in the 11th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, a program that encourages students to apply their classroom skills in science, technology, engineering, and math to real-world issues in their community. 

For their project, two students at Foothill, Keerthana Nallamotu and Kiran Suresh, focused on the long periods of drought that have affected California’s food production and water supply throughout the state’s history.

With the help of computer science instructor Shannon Sos and some of their classmates, they are creating an artificial intelligence-powered web application to analyze maps based on drone and satellite imagery to determine the need for watering.

That would allow irrigators to allocate resources to minimize waste. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that nearly 50% of the water currently used for irrigation is wasted, further impacting water supply.

Each of the 75 semi-finalist schools will receive a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 smartphone to record their project and $15,000 to be applied toward requests on the DonorsChoose.org website, which directs donations to public school classroom projects.

The videos will be used to showcase the projects through future phases of the competition, with the opportunity for the schools to win additional prizes and educational opportunities. Ten national finalists will be named this spring and will present their projects to a panel of judges. Three winning schools will receive $130,000 in classroom technology and supplies, with the other seven finalists receiving $65,000 each.