Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Consider these two valuable, or invaluable, resources: 1. water and 2. credible information.


The Internet Of Water

Consider these two valuable, or invaluable, resources: 1. water and 2. credible information.

Consider these two valuable, or invaluable, resources: 1. water and 2. credible information.

Essentially, our human brain and heart are more water than any other element — 73% water. Our human lungs are about 83% water. Every other organ, including our skin organ, compares in this range as well. And, yes, even our denser selfs, our bones, are quite watery: 31%.

Water is fascinating. It is the material of life and something that will bring death in its absence. Water is one of our most vulnerable resources. While we all know pure, clean, drinkable water is critical, there’s far too much acceptance of polluted water that leads to disease.

Actual, credible information is the second thing to consider. One way to solve water crises it to improve and share our collective knowledge of water. Water data could be more available for everyone with the creation of an “internet of water.” What if regional, state, countrywide, and private water data hubs expanded their mission and interconnections?

As it is, existing state, regional, and national data collection efforts focus on portions of the water cycle or specific geographic regions — not whole water systems. So, one of the problems with water management is insufficient coordination across impregnable information walls. The age of information could help change this. The “internet of water” could “revolutionize” water management.

“The United States is awash in water data — the power of which has yet to be unleashed,” Melissa Edeburn writes for the Nicholas Institute at Duke University.

Unleashing this information offers more sustainable management of water resources. I hope that it may well prevent loss of viable drinking water in some regions, water that children and families need in order to survive and live healthy lives. Perhaps suffering in places such as Flint, Michigan (where people still lack safe tap water) could be avoided.

Edeburn continues: “Water management is hindered by decision makers’ inability to answer three fundamental questions about our water systems in a timely way: How much water is there? What is its quality? How is it used (withdrawn, consumed or returned for different purposes)?

“To realize the dormant value of the data, say some producers and users, would require making them widely shareable in standardized digital formats, thereby allowing their real-time aggregation for a host of purposes beyond those that spurred their original collection. They believe that opening the data and investing in water data infrastructure would set in motion a wave of innovation, leading to more sustainable management of our water resources.”

The project is a pragmatic “brainchild” that came out of a gathering of representatives from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, agriculture, utilities, energy firms, technology firms, and software development firms. The’ve worked together under the auspices of the Aspen Institute Dialogue Series on Sharing and Integrating Water Data for Sustainability.

“Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute partnered with the Redstone Strategy Group to convene the series in 2016 and 2017. The goal: to formulate a national digital water data and information policy framework for sharing, integrating, and disseminating public data to characterize and forecast the quantity, quality, and uses of water across the United States.”

“Our water world is data rich, but information poor,” said Martin Doyle, director of the Nicholas Institute’s Water Policy Program and a driving force in shaping the water data dialogue series. “If water data were shared openly and then integrated into a common digital platform, there would be game-changing opportunities ranging from private citizens’ ability to gauge the quality of local water to public officials’ ability to warn populations of water-borne public health hazards.”

We know how vital the integration of transportation data is. Federal road data integrated with state and local road data help the public road dataset to be more usable and valuable. Integrated public datasets make possible the development of private applications such as Google Maps and Waze, improving mobility for countless people. Drivers, carsharing services, and taxis rely on these data every day. “The public data provides a context within which to incorporate non-governmental data and crowd-sourcing tools. Sharing and integrating water data could similarly revolutionize how we manage water resources.”

Nicholas Institute, the Aspen Institute, and Redstone culminated with:

Three Overarching Findings that Informed the Proposed Internet of Water:

First, water is undervalued—and water data even more so. Moving water from its source, treating it, and delivering it to faucets has a cost. Similarly, collecting data, “cleaning” or standardizing them, and delivering them to an end user has a cost. But unlike water utilities, most public agencies know neither the full cost of their data infrastructure nor the water and cost savings of putting the data to timely use. This blind spot has discouraged public agencies from further investing in data infrastructure. “If the benefits of sharing water data in terms of meeting an agency’s mission and providing a good return on investment aren’t articulated for public agencies and organizations, they won’t direct already-allocated funds to make the data available,” said Patterson.

Second, there’s a need to make existing public water data more accessible. The data’s value in decision making is diminished if the data are hard to share across platforms. Thus, it is critically important that data, particularly at the local and state level, become more discoverable and usable. The problem is that many state and local governments lack the resources to invest in data infrastructure.

Third, the appropriate architecture for an Internet of Water is a federation of data producers, hubs, and users—entities often isolated from one another. Initially, some overarching governance structure is needed to intentionally connect data hubs and to help coordinate the adoption of shared metadata and data standards to ensure that data hubs can talk to one another.

Consider a career in water — and help bring about or use this new internet of water.

Related Stories:

What You Need To Know About Food & Water Security And The Climate Crisis

Study: Water Stress To Drive Severe Reductions In US Crop Yields By 2050 In “Hotspots”

US EPA To Review Clean Air Act & Clean Water Act In Search Of “Regulatory Burdens

Climate Change May Stunt Ability Of Ultraviolet Light To Disinfect Lakes & Coastal Waters, Exacerbating Drinking Water Scarcity

Middle Eastern Governments Well Aware Of Impending Climate Change + Land, Water, Food, & Energy Scarcity Problems Of “Unimaginable Proportions,” Official Documents Reveal

Pennsylvania’s Watersheds Contaminated With Radioactive Materials & Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals From Release Of Treated Fracking Wastewater, Study Finds

Water Properties True/False Quiz

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits.


You May Also Like


I saw an odd comment on Reddit about my article on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) report on Tesla’s Autopilot System....


Originally published on The U.S. National Science Foundation. WASHINGTON — Last week, the U.S. National Science Foundation announced the establishment of 11 new NSF National...

Clean Power

Courtesy of Union Of Concerned Scientists. By Joseph Daniel, Senior energy analyst  When I came to UCS three years ago, coal self-commitment—the practice of coal...


The American Jobs Act showers the heat pump with climate action love, as part of push for building electrification.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.