Abundant rains this year ended California’s three-year drought, but, long-term, the need for responsible water management and conservation continues. California Gov. Arnold Schwazenegger has asked the people of the state to reduce their water use by 20 percent by 2020.
In Sonoma County, one of the premium wine regions of the world, the competing demands for water from people, fish, and the wine industry requires the Sonoma County Water Agency to be smart about the way it manages water. It’s developing a new management system that gathers data from numerous sources and allows the water agency and its retailers to share data and coordinate the supply and demand of water.
What struck me when talking to leaders in Sonoma is how much collaboration and transparency matter in situations like this. With them, conflicts can be resolved. Without them, problems tend to end up being dealt with in court.
It’s Water Week, so there’s plenty of water-related activity at IBM. Here are three items that are particularly interesting.
–The Nature Conservancy and IBM announced plans to launch a Web site called Rivers for Tomorrow, where watershed managers can map, analyze and share data about the health of local freshwater river basins to help out with cleanup programs.
–IBM’s World Community Grid, a network of PC owners helping scientists solve humanitarian challenges, announced three new projects, in China, Brazil, and the U.S.’s Chesapeake Bay.
–IBM Research has launched a project called Creek Watch, an iPhone application that enables people to help monitor the health of their local watershed. Whenever people pass a local waterway, they can snap a photo and report how much water and trash they see. The data is collected and shared with local authorities so they can respond to whatever’s going on. Here’s a blog post about the program.