IBM, a world leader in computing and member of the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum Governing Consortium, is applying big data technology to improve water security in northern Kenya.

Rural populations in the semi-arid region of northern Kenya face significant challenges in accessing clean and reliable water for themselves and their livestock, on which the regions economy depends.

IBM’s solution. Using smart water technologies to turn lives around.

IBM Research-Africa has developed a cloud-hosted water management platform which connects a network of sensors for monitoring water levels and ground water extraction rates in boreholes. These data are used to produce supply and demand patterns which aim to help water users in northern Kenya reduce losses through leaks, theft or metering inaccuracies.

By making practical use of data in this way and bringing stakeholders and communities together, the project aims to deliver improved water security, sanitation and hygiene services.

This project comes at a time of increasing global water insecurity. According to UN Water over two billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress and 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030.

The technology giant, IBM, is pioneering the use of Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things and Quantum Computing to tackle some of today’s most serious environmental threats. As well as a Member of the Forum’s Governing Consortium, IBM is co-chair of the High Level Working Group on Big Data and AI for the Environment.

“These sophisticated tools and big data have enabled society-at-large to do some pretty amazing things,” said Wayne Balta, Vice President, Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety, IBM.

Mr Balta continued, “But collectively, across the world, we need a greater demand for them to tackle environmental problems urgently.  Through our participation in the UN-SPBF Governing Consortium, we hope to work with governments, civil society, scientific institutions and like-minded companies to bridge the ways society organizes itself to cause the best technologies to routinely be demanded and become applied for environmental protection.”

The IBM Research-Africa water project is dependent on collaborations across sectors and countries, something that the Forum believes is essential for delivering the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

In November 2019, the Forum will be convening its Members – including IBM – as part of GEO Week 2019 Ministerial Summit in Australia for a UN High-Level Working Group on Big Data and the Environment. The aim of which will be to help foster new partnerships and innovations in data-driven technologies for a sustainable future.

Related links

Original IBM article

UN water

GEO Week 2019 Ministerial Summit


Picture: Davide Restivo

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