California, a state known for the divisive nature of water politics courtesy of the omnipresent danger of a drought, is now looking to implement a blockchain solution to alleviate the crisis to some extent.
California’s research organization, Pacific Institute has opened a nonprofit called The Freshwater Trust in collaboration with IBM and SweetSense to create a water management project employing a blockchain-based system. The system aims to install Internet of Things (IoT) sensors across water pumps around the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta to track groundwater usage in real-time. The aim is to monitor and manage the water supply and incentivize responsible usage by agricultural and business users to ease pressures on the water table.
The aquifers in California are depleting fast due to intensive farming and heavy industrial usage; at a rate that cannot be replenished through natural resources, making conservation the key in resolving the problem. The IoT sensor-based solution will track levels of groundwater sucked by individual pumps, and then it will upload the data via satellite to IBM’s blockchain without any internet connectivity. The data will be used to calculate and grant water credits as per the usage, which will allow its owner the right to pump a set volume of groundwater. Similarly, if people need less water for some reason, they can treat these water credits as an asset and sell them for profit.
This could be great for streamlining the distribution of already scarce water resources as per the consumers’ customized needs, as the AI-backed blockchain system could recognize the potential water credit trading opportunities and notify administrators and relevant businesses. It also gives the consumers an incentive to save water as it will now be a commodity with clear economic value. In essence, this entire system can prove to be an efficient method to improve the groundwater scarcity crisis in the region and hopefully avert the state-wide ecological catastrophe that’s looming large.
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