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Smart Water Management

Smart Water Management

The Earth is covered in 70% water, however, at the rate that we are using water combined with climate change, there have been many occurrences of drought all over the world. Many environmentalists and companies (like IBM) have begun to stress the importance of decreasing our water footprint and creating new technology that can fully utilize the 70% of Earth’s water.

While many people have cut back on electricity use, water usage is still very high. In fact, in the US, we consume twice the world average in water [Source: Treehugger]. While more people are becoming aware of their water footprint, companies like IBM have already begun to boost technology for better water management. Scientists at IBM, partnered with Water Innovations Alliance, have created a new desalination-membrane technology that removes aresenic and boron salt from polluted groundwater by putting a polymer designed for immersive lithography into membranes that reject the toxic salts.

Though the advancement in creating clean drinking water is a major step, creating a smart water grid is on the forefrunt of IBM’s mission statement. Peter Williams, CTO of IBM Big Green Innovations said “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” [Source: Reuters] roughly 30% to 50% of the water used each year [Source: Water & Wastes Digest]. One of the simplest methods that IBM focuses on is showing people how much water they are consuming. By taking a cue from electric companies, IBM believes that by showing people how much water they use, they will curb their consumption. In fact, studies show that people have curbed their electric consumption by 15% with this method [Source: Treehugger]. Why shouldn’t it be the same for water? Smart water grid is currently a $530 million market and offers a business a wide range of ways to get involved from water mapping to smart irrigation. IBM believes that in ten years, this could become a $20 billion business [Source: Business Insider].

Water, one of the most abundant natural resources in the world, is slowly drying up around the earth. While the US has decreased it’s overall water usage, individual homes, in fact, have increased how much water they use. IBM along with many other companies have taken a step in the right direction by pushing for better IT management and also showing regular people the truth about their water consumption.

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NFW.com
Jasmine Greene

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35 comments

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7:38AM PST on Jan 7, 2010

Thanks!

8:50AM PST on Dec 14, 2009

totally agree. no need more to talk about it - everyone i guess is already aware, we must act and reduce the consumption

1:32AM PST on Dec 4, 2009

I LOVE water :) SO I do my best to conserve :)

1:20AM PST on Nov 26, 2009

I totally agree that we must first limit first our personal use of water, but we should however aim at larger grounds if we are to make a much more significant change. We must make sure that the big corporations stop their abusing water, for a few regulations in the corporate world could make a much more significant change.

8:40PM PST on Nov 23, 2009

Water means a lot of things to us all.without it we would be stuck with nothing to wash away the bacteria and germs we pick up everywhere. We have to be thankful that we live in a Country where we have enough to wash with and do other things like wash our clothes and have drinking water. Ido not know what I would do if I did not have running water,I think I would go crazy because I love having water and not be told it has to be use a certain way. Thank God for every drop of it.

4:45PM PST on Nov 22, 2009

First step is conservation. Use only what you need. Then after conservation, lets take a look at what we really need.

12:37PM PST on Nov 21, 2009

The reason why I said "NO" was because all we do is talk talk and do no actions on what really needs to be done RIGHT AWAY and eveyone that is involved looks at their bottom line and that is a fact.

11:08PM PST on Nov 19, 2009

thank u Jasmine

3:46PM PST on Nov 10, 2009

There has been some really interesting discussion about a number of issues.

While domestic water management is a great idea, especially when it detects water links, control needs to be kept away from private companies whose primary aim is to make a profit.

Desalination may be possible in some areas, but only where it is near the coast, or where the country can afford it.

Also, we do need to remember that the amount of water used domestically is minor compare to the amount used to make products. Are you aware of the water footprint of the products you use? Products such as cotton, paper and coffee can use huge amounts of water.

6:45AM PST on Nov 10, 2009

I really appreciate Maureen N.'s comments on governments' privileging corporate access to water resources over the needs of the environment and the people.

There are many other aspects of water use that we should be more aware of. People are still purchasing bottled water by the case in small disposable plastic bottles. Why, given the harm these bottling companies work on our natural waters and the wasteful use of plastics, is this even still possible?

Greening our cities with green roofs and replacing hardsurface paving with plantings and absorptive paving will quickly solve pollution problems and flooding caused by city runoff. This is the sort of solution I hope to see governments at all levels look to.

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