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Smarter Water Management

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

Fix leaky pipes, save billions. Step one of smarter water management.

Global population is growing, but our water supply isn't. And water use is increasing at more than twice the rate of population growth1.

Where water goes

Demand for water will continue to increase dramatically as the developing world modernizes and industrializes with systems that fail to keep up:

Containing the losses

It seems overwhelming, but smarter water management solutions exist for cities, businesses and utilities. Sensors placed throughout the infrastructure and natural waterways feed data to analytics-driven technologies, enabling real-time tracking and reporting of conditions.

As a result, waste and potential problems are exposed and can even be predicted. Imagine the savings from heading off a burst water main, clogged street drain or hazardous sewage overflow. And leaks, which waste so much of our precious, irreplaceable water.

Fix leaky pipes, save billions. In currency. And water. And lives.

The social side of Smarter Water


Improving water management for the world

Water infrastructure updates are needed everywhere, but often stall or fail to start because of a shortage of capital. Waterfund and IBM are developing the Rickards Real Cost Water Index™, which uses advanced analytics to create a benchmark of the true cost of water production—even hidden costs—in individual geographic areas.

For the next three years, Lake George in upstate New York will gain sensors, weather modeling and close scrutiny by scientists. IBM will help create a new Smarter Water laboratory at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute to study threats to water quality and create a plan for healthier waterways.

Just as a river delta is the confluence of multiple waterways, Digital Delta integrates numerous data sources to create a rich pool of insights about flood control and water management in the Netherlands. IBM and Dutch ministry and research concerns will explore potential data sharing using the latest technology and industry expertise.

South Africa is watching its water with smart phones. WaterWatchers, a free crowdsourcing app, provides an easy way for citizens to report water leaks, faulty pipes and canal issues. Volunteers take a photo and answer three questions about conditions, then send the information to a central database for analysis and aggregation into a map.

1 See more at:

2 K.A. Patterson, "Case for integrating groundwater and surface water management," 2009