When it comes to water, critical decisions are made every day, regardless of data availability. But what if we could harness more data to make better-informed decisions? The Internet of Water seeks to fundamentally change how we manage water by improving access to more water data for real-time decision-making. The project, undertaken by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, has been awarded $2 million by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
“This funding is a game-changing opportunity to collectively address challenges in our water data infrastructure in order to ensure decision-makers have all the publicly available data needed to make real-time decisions and collectively address regional water challenges,” said Martin Doyle, Advisory Board Chair of the Internet of Water and director of the Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute.
The concept for the Internet of Water grew out of a 2017 Aspen/Nicholas Institutes’ dialogue series on Sharing and Integrating Water Data for Sustainability, which convened experts from different water sectors around key principles and next steps to improve our nation’s water data infrastructure. Doyle and his Nicholas Institute colleague Lauren Patterson have been instrumental in implementing the recommendations of the subsequent Internet of Water report.
The Moore Foundation funding will also support the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI) and the Western States Water Council’s (WSWC) Water and Data Exchange Program (WaDE) as they work with the Internet of Water to integrate and share data and develop use cases highlighting the value of water data.
“The Moore Foundation funding will greatly increase our program's momentum and scope, expanding the availability and interoperability of new datasets from our 18 western state partners and others,” said Sara Larsen, senior program manager at WSWC. “Our cooperative efforts will help us identify and prioritize high value data sets that support innovative applications and better decision making. The work will be transferable among WSWC's member states, creating cascading benefits and advancing our capacity to know when, where, and how water is being used. Eventually, we will be able to identify and address regional trends impacting water demand in an era of increasingly uncertain supplies.”
The Internet of Water has also received funding from the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation; Kingfisher Foundation; Pisces Foundation; S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation; Walton Family Foundation; and Water Funder Initiative.