If there is one theme that dominated water news in February it must be innovation.
Starting with how Microsoft is taking water cooling to a whole new level to create fully scalable data centers under ocean waters. I don’t think we can believe that the waste heat in the receiving waters will be totally benign, but it is entirely possible that this is a less impactful solution than any of the other mass computing options. So what if computing and data storage get much, much, cheaper as a result of this technology?
Well it turns out that many people are working on what to do with all of that power. However, there is another problem that needs to be resolved first. David Arctur describes how new and emerging water data standards are enabling many disparate data sources to be used openly and transparently. In the second part of this series he maps out all of the parts that need to work seamlessly together in order for ‘big data’ to be useful .
In an Environmental Research Letter Jagermayer et al. discuss how better global-scale data is contributing to local-scale decision-making to increase global-scale food production.
Going a step further the MIT Technology Review reveals how machine learning algorithms can be trained to provide us with a better, timely picture of water availability and water deficits at a 4km global resolution. This could do for surface water what the GRACE mission did for groundwater.
This new source of information may allow us to identify regions suffering from flooding, but what can we do about it? One of the leading causes of death from flooding is water-borne illness such as Cholera. A project in Thailand shows a rapidly deployable water filtration technology that can be readily scaled to contain the threat by producing potable water where it is needed, when it is needed.
Real-time water dashboards during extreme events: the right information, to the right people, at the right time, at the right place.
Our own AQUARIUS WebPortal was updated this month featuring configurable dashboards. The Brisbane City Council (Australia) use the technology to provide stakeholders a live snapshot of environmental conditions across mobile devices. A quick glance at authoritive data presented in charts, grids, meters, webcams, YouTube videos, and Twitter timelines deliver a live and compelling view of flooding conditions to allow officials to take timely action to protect lives and urban infrastructure.
What happens if all the data shows that there is not enough water?
This might be a case where you deploy cloud-seeding drones. This technology is a real concern for me. Water rights for surface water and groundwater are tenuous enough. What about rights to atmospheric water? This is likely to get really ugly.
Sometimes flooding occurs at a very local time-and-space scale. ‘Big data’ may help there with improved flash flood guidance such as this flash flood system developed for Southeastern Asia-Oceania.
Finally, what good is any technology unless there is an app for it?
The GWADI system has you covered for that as well with up-to-date, high resolution precipitation products rendered from remote sensing data.
What more could we ask for?
AQUARIUS WebPortal delivers a simple and elegant solution for offering real-time online access to quality assured environmental data and services. Impress stakeholders with custom dashboards, rich statistics, intuitive maps, alerts, and live reports – empowering them to make better decisions anytime, anywhere. Play Video.