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Smarter Water Management

Whether too much or not enough, the world needs a smarter way to think about water

Water in wine country

The Sonoma County Water Agency supplies water to more than 600,000 people. IBM is helping tackle the water crisis head on in the heart of Northern California's wine country.

A Splash in Ireland

Thanks to a partnership between EPA Ireland and IBM, bathers can get up-to-date water quality information on a new portal site during the bathing season (June through August).

Rivers as a natural laboratory

The Beacon Institute uses a source-to-sea real-time monitoring network for New York’s Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers to report on conditions and threats in real time.

Cures from the deep

Scientists at IBM and the University of Aberdeen can "see" the structure of a marine compound from 35,814 feet below sea level, using an atomic force microscope.

Galway's SmartBay

This pilot information system will monitor wave conditions, marine life and pollution levels in and around Galway Bay for smarter environmental management and development.


 

Water management is getting smarter

Water quality monitoring is often done by volunteers who care about the clarity and health of the lakes, rivers and coastlines around their communities. While this data is useful in itself, it doesn't tell us what we really want to know: How is the quality changing? Why is it changing? And what can we do to make it better?

To start, we can enter the data from all these sources into one system so that sophisticated analytics software can then identify likely sources of pollutants. And smarter city planning and sustainable farming techniques can reduce those impacts. This is the ultimate goal of EPA Ireland's water management program.

As reported by Green Light (link resides outside of ibm.com), a Greentech Media blog, "IBM hopes to mine the data to see if it can discern trends in storm water runoff, pollution percolation and other issues. 'It is more of a predictive tool,' said Cameron Brooks, director of Big Green Innovations at IBM."

"Though the total amount of water on the planet has never changed, the nature of the water has," said Sharon Nunes, vice president, Big Green Innovations, IBM. "Everything from where rain falls to the chemical makeup of the oceans is in flux, and it continues to change in real time."

At some point, sensors will replace passionate volunteers, feeding information into water management systems automatically in real-time. This is the vision IBM sees for smarter water management in the future. And it is working with teams like EPA Ireland all over the globe to make this vision a reality.

As blogger Michael Kanellos wrote: "Water represents one of those sprawling, under-researched problems that will take time, government grants, logistical know-how and scientific expertise to fix." This makes water quality and availability ideal problems for IBM to tackle with its understanding of the planet's many interconnected systems.

Dublin Water Quality

 

The Lower Colorado River Authority

IBM software will reduce the complexity and costs (US) of managing the utility's resources and services, which span across more than 36,800 square miles and 58 counties in Central and South Texas.

Japan's Fukuoka District Waterworks Agency

Providing better quality water and making it more widely available is the plan for a new system (US) serving eight cities, eight towns and a local waterworks agency.

Australia's Power and Water Corporation

IBM will help the Northern Territory's multi-utility provider design and implement an asset management system (US) aimed at delivering electricity, water and sewerage services to customers more efficiently.

Find out what the experts think-and tell us what you think-about making world's water

Find out what the experts think-and tell us what you think-about making world's water