IBM Research and sensor tech provider SweetSense have recently announced a partnership in order to collaborate on a project using blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) to deal with the ongoing drought currently affecting California.
Both IBM Research and SweetSense have also partnered with a non-profit organization by the name of The Freshwater Trust (TFT) and the University of Colorado Boulder to utilize blockchain and IoT technology to sustainably manage groundwater in whats being known as one of the largest and most at risk aquifers in North America, which is located in the northern California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
For those not in the know, an aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rocks, from which groundwater can be extracted and distributed throughout the region’s ecosystem. Stretching over 1,100 square miles, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has been said to be the nexus of California’s statewide water system and will become the testing ground for this new sustainability project.
According to information provided by the press release, the project shall involve the use of IoT sensors that shall transmit water extraction data to orbiting satellites, which are simultaneously used to detect rainfall and weather correlations, This data shall then be recorded into the could-hosted and smart contract-compatible IBM Blockchain Platform.
Farmers, Financiers, and Regulators will be capable of using the web-based dashboard to interface with the blockchain and monitor the groundwater all in real time.
With precise tracking set into place, the system will then be capable of issuing a so-called “groundwater shares” that will then be purchased and traded by players in the region, so that those who are not in need of all their assigned water supply can then exchange it as credits for those who are in need of it.
The press release points out that TFT was the one to help them establish the Northern Delta Groundwater Sustainability agency, which integrates multiple smaller agencies under a single unit to work together on sustainable groundwater usage. The agency is one of a series of such entities statewide, which were mandated to handle the environmental issues after California signed its Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGM) into law during 2014.
In addition to the US, SweetSense has also implemented their sensor technology to monitor groundwater supplies for over a million people in Kenya and Ethiopia, with plans to further expand their number to 5 million nearing the end of 2019.