Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent


Rich Hume, General Manager, IBM Europe

By Rich Hume

With 20 percent of its land below sea level and more than half of the country vulnerable to flooding, The Netherlands depends on a vast network of dykes and sluices to hold back and divert sea, river and rain water.  For most of the past 500 years, the ever-evolving system has done its job admirably. (An exception came in 1953, with flooding that caused the deaths of 1800 people.) Yet global warming and the threat of rising sea levels but also more droughts means the Dutch can’t rest on their laurels. So the government is launching an innovative collaboration aimed at harnessing big data to improve management of the water system while restraining cost increases.

The Digital Delta initiative brings together the Dutch Ministry of Water (Rijkswaterstaat), the Delfland local water authority, the Deltares science institute, the University of Delft, IBM and other organizations. IBM’s role is to research how to integrate and open up water-related data from the more than 100 ongoing projects that produce it, and make it available to organizations, scientists and businesses to draw insights from. The expectation is that when businesses and scientists have easy access to relevant data and tools for analyzing it, they will be able to reduce the time it takes to develop new science and technology solutions from an average of 2 years to six months and reduce development costs by up to 30 percent.

This project could serve as a model for countries, regions and cities worldwide that face large and complex challenges due to climate change, natural disasters, rapid urbanization and other large-scale problems. The Dutch government didn’t try to solve this problem by itself. Instead, it formed a public-private partnership drawing on the expertise and resources of government, local water authorities, universities and private industry.

This governance approach, and the technology underlying the project, could be particularly helpful for communities in close proximity to the world’s river deltas. There, flooding and draught play havoc with agriculture, industry, buildings and transportation systems—in addition to threatening lives. These places are especially vulnerable to sea level and ground water changes.  Global sea level has already risen by 4 to 8 inches in the past century, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels could rise 10 to 23 inches by 2100. At the same time, some cities are subsiding, mainly as a result of ground water extraction.

Faced with these possibilities, even places like the Netherlands, which has the current water issues well under control, must try new approaches—in part by integrating the operations of existing water-control systems. The Dutch already spend 7 billion Euros per year on water management, and that total is expected to increase by 1 to 2 billion Euros a year by 2020. So the Dutch Ministry for Water three years ago began exploring ways of using technologies to manage water more effectively and efficiently. Those efforts led ultimately to the Digital Delta project. The expectation is that with better information, local water authorities will be able to prevent disasters and environmental degradation, and trim 10 percent to 15 percent out of the cost of managing water.

The project has several elements. Among them:

High resolution urban flood warning system: By gathering detailed weather information and real-time data from sensors in the water system, authorities will be able to predict flooding of tunnels well ahead of time and take action to head it off.

Water supply balancing: Sharing of real time data will improve prediction models, enabling water officials to discharge water from storage areas in anticipation of flooding. They’ll also be able to retain water to address looming shortages that might result in salt water intrusion damaging agriculture and drinking water production.

Status-based-maintenance: Through the use of inexpensive sensors in dykes, sluices, pipes, tunnels and roadways, authorities will be able to spot potential vulnerabilities ahead of time and schedule preventive maintenance. They’ll be able to focus on impending problems and not expend resources on repairs that aren’t required.

In recent weeks, widespread flooding has brought misery and destruction to much of Central Europe. Yet the Netherlands, which provides the outlet to the sea for the Rhine and other major pan-European rivers, has avoided problems—largely due to the ingenuity of the Dutch people.  The Digital Delta project offers the promise of safety for the people and security for the economy for years to come. And it could teach leaders elsewhere valuable lessons about how to cope with rising waters and extreme weather events, lessons that, unfortunately, seem likely to prove valuable in the years and decades ahead. Society faces major challenges, but, with innovative solutions, we can deal with them.

Bookmark and Share

Previous post

Next post

June 1, 2016
3:20 am
June 1, 2016
3:18 am
May 30, 2016
5:00 pm

I positively getting a charge out of every last bit of it. It is an amazing site and not too bad share.

Posted by: celen
May 10, 2016
5:07 pm

I am really recognizing investigating your wonderfully framed articles. Without a doubt you spend a tremendous measure of exertion and time on your online journal. fat diminisher diet

Posted by: celen
April 19, 2016
7:34 am

Drought, not draught. Other than that a great initiative!

Posted by: Maud de Bie
April 6, 2016
9:40 am

Appreciative to you posting essential information and its now influencing the opportunity to be less requesting to complete this task.

Posted by: celen
April 3, 2016
4:26 pm

This is in like way an acceptable post which I really perceive taking a gander at. It is not dependable that I have the probability to see something like this. online smink

Posted by: celen
April 3, 2016
11:01 am

Your own information and recorded underneath are well known in my opinion.I read this article. I think You put a significant measure of push to make this article. online smink

Posted by: celen
March 21, 2016
4:54 am

A uncommonly sublime web journal passage. We are genuinely thankful for your web journal section. Meilleures Machines a the

Posted by: celen
August 30, 2015
3:01 am
June 22, 2015
9:34 pm

Awesome post.

Posted by: online t shirts india
June 8, 2015
2:13 am

Very informative so this means if predictions can go up to 6 months that increases the accuracy of the data or what happens?. And when this happens it would be great to reduce disaster for good this time.

Posted by: Kioi
June 8, 2015
2:04 am

This project will be very effective in planning around Kenya in Budalangi western Kenya where there is floods everywhere every year. River Nyando bursts its banks every time.

Posted by: Kioi
November 10, 2014
6:53 pm

Here, in this article; all such thoughts have been summarized for you.
She has successfully managed hundreds of company and product launches and public relations campaigns,
beginning with the first digital network launch,
the first commercial wireless phone and the first wireless data applications.

It’s where promotion is integrated with social network profiles where they could put up your brand, company or

Posted by: bride market
September 10, 2014
7:05 am

Wonderful goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just too
fantastic. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly
like what you are saying and the way in which you
say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to
keep it wise. I can’t wait to read much more from you.
This is really a wonderful site.

Posted by: anemometer
August 30, 2014
1:45 am

This figure represented a 14 percent decrease from
January 2011 and a year on year decrease of 27 percent from February 2010,
according to Reality – Trac. This process is continued right
along the length of the wall, and by the time you reach the
end, the first lot of mix applied should be ready for another layer of cob.
The two significant factors that one must consider when choosing
a Roofing Company Atlanta is the Reliability and the Quality of service rendered by the professionals.

Posted by: roof repair in San Antonio
July 8, 2013
5:21 pm

hey, do you wanna know how I’ve lost 30 pounds?

Posted by: charlotte
June 25, 2013
7:22 am

As a German Geography undergraduate in the 80s I spent quite some time studying the Dutch water system and its management. I was impressed with the complexity and scale of both the challenge (large parts of the country below sea level etc.) and the measures taken by the Dutch Rijkswaterstaat (the Ijsselmeer’s afsluitdijk, the Delta project Btw, these guys did not only provide impressive flood protection to the Dutch people, they also created some of the greatest windsurfing spots on the North Sea coast, which was also quite appealing in my student years ;-)
Anyway, it’s great to see IBM engage with the Dutch water management authorities to make flood protection even smarter capitalizing on big data and analytics capabilities.

Posted by: Peter Gerdemann
4 Trackbacks
November 10, 2014
6:12 pm

[…] their citizens in a dialogue about those services and the outcomes they are trying to achieve. The Dutch Water Authority are implementing technology to monitor, automate and optimise an infrastructure on which many […]

Posted by: From concrete to telepathy: how to build future cities as if people mattered | The Urban Technologist
October 7, 2014
10:42 pm

paleo protein powder

Smarter Water Management Archives « A Smarter Planet Blog A Smarter Planet Blog

Posted by: paleo protein powder
September 4, 2013
6:42 pm

[...] into one big weather station. The “Plug and Play” sensor solution was developed as part of the Digital Delta project, a joint research program by Rijkswaterstaat, Delfland Water Board, Delft University of Technology, [...]

Posted by: Group Works to Bring Smarter Weather Forecasting to Sub-Saharan Africa | Everything Natural Blog
September 4, 2013
1:02 am

[...] into one big weather station. The “Plug and Play” sensor solution was developed as part of the Digital Delta project, a joint research program by Rijkswaterstaat, Delfland Water Board, Delft University of Technology, [...]

Posted by: Smarter Planet -- Group Works to Bring Smarter Weather Forecasting to Sub-Saharan Africa -- A Smarter Planet Blog
Post a Comment