Allilance to launch “Smart Water Grid” initiative
Water Innovations Alliance, an industry association promoting accelerated adoption of water technologies, has announced that IBM joined the organization’s Foundation board. IBM will also serve as chair of a subcommittee working on technology platforms, standards and methodologies to enable improved water management decisions.
The Alliance launched its Water IT Subcommittee in New York City on May 18, 2009. The one-day event took place in collaboration with Livingston Securities, LLC.
“Having IBM take a leadership role in this initiative will further our mission for creating a national smart water grid, and we are pleased to have their active participation,” said F. Mark Modzelewski, co-founder and executive director of the Alliance. “It is vital that all the parties—both in the public and private sectors—come together to create and fund a water information technology initiative with common platforms, standards and nomenclature.”
“Demand for innovative water-related information technologies is growing rapidly,” said Peter Williams, CTO of IBM Big Green Innovations. “To achieve our goal of improving water management, we need to collaborate on sensing and monitoring infrastructures for water resources, a common system for measurement, evaluation and reporting, as well as common standards. If we come up with an effective IT management system that leverages the current infrastructure, filtration and treatment technologies, we could realize significant annual water savings.”
Currently, 1.1 billion people lack access to a reliable water supply, and 2.6 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation. By 2025, more than half the world’s population will live in water-stressed or water-scarce countries. One quarter of global freshwater use exceeds local long-term accessible supplies. Agricultural uses are the biggest concern, with an estimated 15% to 35% of irrigation withdrawals in excess of sustainable limits. Industrial withdrawals of water are expected to rise by 55% out to the year 2025. In addition, within the U.S., population has been migrating from the water-rich North to the water-depleted sunbelt. Moreover, crumbling infrastructure means that cities such as Chicago lose upwards of 60% of their water in transit from treatment facilities to faucets.
"Addressing water quality and management issues are of paramount importance to a sustainable planet," said oceanographer and Alliance advisor Fabian Cousteau. "Technological innovation is one of the vehicles that will help get us there."
The emerging water IT field is focused on aiding the delivery of water from suppliers to consumers using digital technology to improve decision making, save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability and safety. The goal of the field is to create a virtual water “grid” that cuts across all water supplies from natural ones such as rivers and aquifers, to municipal suppliers, to the impact of weather patterns.
Information about IBM’s global water and Big Green Innovations initiatives is available at: www-03.ibm.com/technology/greeninnovations/
"We were gratified by the quality of speakers and attendees who participated in our first annual Water Innovations Alliance Conference," noted Vincent Caprio, chief operating officer of the Alliance. "Based on the success of our premiere, we plan to co-locate our second event with our NanoBusiness Conference in Chicago on Sept. 10, and will return to New York City for another spring conference on May 17, 2010."