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IBM Blockchain Assists IoT to Combat Drought In California

According to a press release published on Feb. 8, a collaborative IBM project using blockchain along with the Internet of Things (IoT) to manage drought is underway in the United States state of California. SweetSense along with IBM Research have partnered with The Freshwater Trust (TFT) and the University of Colorado Boulder in order to use IoT technology and blockchain to manage usage of groundwater  located in northern California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta which is also described as “one of the largest and most at risk aquifers in North America.”

U.S-based Freshwater Trust is a non-profit organization working towards preserving and restoring freshwater ecosystems. The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta supplying water to southern California, San Francisco Bay Area and coastal, covers an area of  1,100 square miles. It is considered to be “nexus of California’s statewide water system.” An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rock, groundwater can be extracted and distributed across a region’s ecosystem from it.

SweetSense is a provider of the internet of things (IoT) sensors for the development sector. It is already involved in monitoring the groundwater supplies for “over a million” Kenya residents as well as for Ethiopia using IoT sensors.

IBM announced that California’s Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta will be tracked in “real-time” in order to improve sustainable use of the key water resource. This can be monitored through a web-based dashboard to interface with the blockchain by water consumers like farmers, financiers, and regulators. Water Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation are jointly investing in this project. The project will make use of IoT sensors in an attempt to transmit water extraction data to satellites, post which it is recorded on the IBM Blockchain Platform which is simultaneously used to detect rainfall and weather concurrence. Hosted in the IBM Cloud, the IBM Blockchain Platform uses smart contracts to execute transactions when certain conditions are met.

IBM remarked:

“Through a web-based dashboard, water consumers, including farmers; financers and regulators will all be able to monitor and track the use of groundwater to demonstrate how sustainable pumping levels can be achieved through the trading of groundwater use shares in the State of California.”

The director at IBM Research – Africa, Dr. Solomon Assefa said:

“With the addition of the blockchain, we can bridge critical trust and transparency gaps making it possible to build a robust, scalable and cost-efficient platform for managing precious groundwater supplies anywhere in the world.”

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