Nov 02, 2009

IBM, EPA Ireland Team for Water Management

Real time water analysis aims to help ensure safety of beachgoers

IBM and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ireland are teaming up to try to enable smarter water management across more than 130 of Ireland's beaches and lakes.

Working together with An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, the organizations are collecting and analyzing large amounts of complex environmental data from Ireland's coastline and lakes on water quality, tides, weather forecasts and more. That information is then made available to the general public at an online portal, Splash, which is currently live in Ireland with plans for global expansion.

"Our collaboration with IBM and An Taisce is paving the way for smarter water quality management at our beaches and lakes," said Mary Kelly, Ph.D., EPA Ireland director general. "It is a good example of how smart green technologies can be deployed to provide easily accessible and useful information to the public. The Splash portal is just the beginning of what we hope to accomplish."

The system also aims to enable more efficient reporting by local government authorities and state agencies. Prior to the Splash portal, public reports such as water samples and compliancy with standards were not available until the year after they were collected and created. With Splash, this information is available immediately, in map-based format, and adhering to the requirements of the European 2006 Bathing Water Directive. Ireland is the first of the 27 European Union member states to implement this online solution for beach water quality reporting.

"Though the total amount of water on the planet has never changed, the nature of the water has," said Sharon Nunes, vice president of big green innovations with IBM. "Everything from where rain falls to the chemical makeup of the oceans is in flux, and it continues to change in real time. By providing near-real-time access to water conditions, we're enabling environmental agencies and citizens alike to make smarter decisions about everything from how to handle changes in water quality to where to plan their next vacation."