While I’m writing this blog, the Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala are having a meeting with Prime Minister to discuss the contentious issue of Mullaperiayar at length. For those who don’t know about this issue, this is about the Mullaperiayar Dam in south India. Mullaperiyar Dam is a masonry gravity dam over River Periyar and operated by the Government of Tamil Nadu based on a 999-year lease agreement. The catchment areas and river basin of River Periyar downstream include five Districts of Central Kerala, namely Idukki, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Trissur with a total population of around 3.5 million.
This dam is at the centre stage again in the wake of reports that the dam is weakening due to increase in incidents of tremor in Idduki district in Kerala. Ministers from Kerala are seeking Central Government intervention in ensuring the safety of the dam. At the same time, Tamil Nadu is insisting on increasing the water level in the reservoir for enhancing water supply to the state. While Tamil Nadu wants to increase the water-level in the reservoir, Kerala has been insisting that it be reduced from the current 136 feet to 120 feet.
Currently I don’t think we have clear metrics on the exact usage of water by each state, what is right level of water to be retained by the dam, what are the risks etc. We have been relying on data that we have from the past.
However you look at it -- whether too much or not enough, the world needs a smarter way to think about water. We need to look at the subject holistically with all the other considerations as well. We use water for more than drinking. We need to make an inventory of how much water we get and how is it used – of industries, irrigation, etc. This is where I think we need smarter ways to manage the water in the best possible way that addresses both states requirements adequately.
IBM Smarter Water Management can help us think in a smarter way about water. For instance IBM is helping the Beacon Institute to do source-to-sea real-time monitoring network for New York’s Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers as well as report on conditions and threats in real time. There are many other case studies across the globe on IBM Smarter Water Management.
Those interested in the problem and the possible solutions should definitely read IBM’s broader outlook on Water Management as covered in the Global Innovation Outlook.
Rivers for Tomorrow is another interesting partnership between IBM and The Nature Conservancy. IBM is providing a state-of-the-art support system for a free, online application that will provide easy access to data and computer models to help watershed managers assess how land use affects water quality.
Though it's a worldwide entity, water is treated as a regional issue. I think we should try putting technology to use to solve our water problems. The solution should be more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent system that can not only take into consideration the realtime monitoring of the river but also include early warning systems to notify risks related to earth quakes etc. IBM’s Strategic Water Management Solutions include offerings to help governments, water utilities, and companies monitor and manage water more effectively. The IBM Strategic Water Information Management (SWIM) solutions platform is both an information architecture and an intelligent infrastructure that enables continuous automated sensing, monitoring, and decision support for water management operations.
And you might be wondering what has this to do with Cloud and why is this post on cloud computing Central. For these solutions and platforms to be successful it is highly important that we have energy efficient high-performance computing platforms and complex sensor, metering, and actuator networks. Such platform needs and flexible choices of having the solution on-premise as well as leverage different delivery models can only be supported through a cloud.
I think we should just leverage these solutions on the cloud to solve this issue and keep all the states and its people happy :-).