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How Big Data Helps Water Management

SOWCCanada’s Southern Ontario Water Consortium, a public-private-university initiative working in the areas of watershed, wastewater, drinking water management, ecotoxicology and sensor development is now generating big data for global research and development purposes.

The new data integration platform for SOWC is being provided by Smarter Planet Solutions for IBM Canada.

Watersheds was one of the first projects chosen to generate intense sets of data for the SOWC as it impacts water for all uses, including agriculture, industry, ecosystems and municipalities.

Data is currently being collected from three key sub-watersheds within the Grand River system that represent different stages of development: pristine, urban and developing regions. The new technology assimilates 600 data points an hour streaming from more than 120 sensors, capturing nuances relating to rain and snowfall, soil moisture, flow rates, temperature and water quality, among others.

Intense monitoring of quality, quantity and impact on ecology is expected to play a pivotal role in helping decision makers assess the need for infrastructure upgrades or replacement.

Since the data became public domain, interest in collecting watershed scale data has been strong. To date, SOWC has been linking research from Nevada, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Brazil.

According to Brenda Lucas of SOWC, one of the challenges in water management is being able to demonstrate technologies and processes in a real environment to provide a business case for commercialization. By integrating dense streams of data from its network of monitoring stations and making them available through a central database, the SOWC is helping researchers and developers reach the commercialization stage.

Earlier this year, IBM big data was chosen by the Flint River Partnership to help Georgia Farmers improve their agricultural efficiency through weather forecasting technology.

In addition, IBM recently launched Green Horizon, a 10-year big data initiative to help China deliver on its environmental and energy goals.

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One thought on “How Big Data Helps Water Management

  1. Big data can also help large companies monitor their water consumption in individual facilities. Feeding automated utility data into sustainability dashboards allows facilities managers to forecast future water needs and implement specific conservation initiatives.

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