In order to monitor and reduce water waste and consumption, IBM is working with communities across the U.S. to test smart water meters.
884 million people across the planet lack access to safe water supplies but IBM is trying to change that through their "A Smarter Planet" initiative. Through the use of smart water meters, IBM hopes to encourage a reduction in water waste as well as provide early detection for leaks and damages. The amount of water leaked from U.S. homes could exceed more than 1 trillion gallons per year. That's equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined. (Source: EPA)
IBM's focus on water conservation is threefold: quantity, quality and energy. The amount of available clean water on the planet is limited and as climate change and pollution continue, where rain falls and the quality of water is in constant flux. Not only is water a major resource for human consumption, global industry accounts for 20 percents of the world's water supply and roughly 70 percent of all freshwater use is attributed to agriculture.
Almost every manufactured product requires consumption of water to produce. These facts are pushing companies to consider their corporate water footprint and strive for innovative ways to reduce consumption. In fact, a study by the Alliance for Water Efficiency estimates that for every 10 million dollars spent on water efficiency in the United States, we can not only save as much as 10 trillion gallons of water, but also create about 220,000 jobs and increase economic output by as much as $2.8 million. (Source: IBM)
Among the cities IBM has begun working with, Dubuque, CA, currently has 311 households participating in a pilot project testing smart water meters. Similar to smart electricity meters, they measure water usage and wirelessly transmit data to the utility company. Traditionally, leaks or other system damages that waste water may go unnoticed for months, but with IBM's smart meter, information is collected every 15 minutes.
IBM has also begun a collaboration with the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC WASA) to integrate advanced analytics with asset management software from IBM and a mapping application from ESRI, an IBM Business Partner. The availability of real time, map-based information and geo-analytics will help DC WASA engineers identify potential problems before they occur. (Source: IBM)