Water Policy Program News

Is An 'Open Internet' Needed For Water Data?

Water Online reports that researchers at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute are trying to improve the availability of water quality data by proposing an “open internet of water.”

Dialogue Series Sets Internet of Water in Motion

Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute partnered with the Redstone Strategy Group to convene a dialogue series in 2016 and 2017. The goal: to formulate a national digital water data and information policy framework for sharing, integrating, and disseminating public data to characterize and forecast the quantity, quality, and uses of water across the United States, writes CleanTechnica.

Global Alliance Releases New Tools to Guide Evidence-based Solutions Across Health, Development, and Environment

The Bridge Collaborative, a global alliance of 90 organizations from 23 countries, today released two new tools to assist decision-makers solving big challenges facing health, development, and the environment. The Bridge Collaborative Practitioner’s Guide on Principles and Guidance for Cross-sector Action Planning and Evidence Evaluation and the policy-focused Call to Action for Health, Environment, and Development Leaders were developed to accelerate progress toward building a shared, cross-sector evidence base that informs strategies, shapes policies, and directs funding decisions to achieve concrete solutions.

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Lake St. Clair SMART Water Initiative Launches To Collaborate On Critical Technology

A consortium of some of technology’s brightest minds has been assembled to share critical data to address Lake St. Clair’s environmental challenges. The goal of this initiative is to develop a systematic approach to addressing lake issues, while creating the tools to provide a better understanding of lake dynamics and the land-water interface at the watershed scale. Dubbed the Lake St. Clair SMART Water Initiative, the consortium is led by startup CitiesRising Technologies and includes the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, the Institute of Water Research at Michigan State University, the Aspen Institute, Nicolas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, Microsoft, and ESRI.

Researchers Propose an Open ‘Internet of Water’ Tracking Use, Quality and Costs

TechCrunch reports on work by researchers from Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute that looks to develop a shared, open internet of water. With natural disasters like droughts and flooding, and with man-made problems like overcrowded cities and factory runoff, the water system is frequently overtaxed and understudied. Local authorities and utilities produce reams of data on use, but there is little in the way of national databases, let alone standardized, open datasets. “Our water world is data rich, but information poor,” explains Martin Doyle, of Duke’s Nicholas Institute. “If water data were shared openly and then integrated in a common digital platform, there would be game-changing opportunities ranging from private citizens’ ability to gauge the quality of local water to public officials’ ability to warn populations of water-borne public health hazards.”

California Is Using Open Data to Provide Key Health, Water Information

Water boards have improved their use of modern data management to change public habits on critical water issues and are hoping to do more in the future, writes Steven Moore, vice chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, in Water Deeply. He references a report by the Aspen Institute and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions noting that much of the United States lacks the data needed to sustainably manage our water supplies and pursue innovative solutions to meet our water challenges. The report, “Internet of Water: Sharing and Integrating Water Data for Sustainability,” makes key recommendations for improving the accessibility of water data and engaging the public on issues important to them, like safe drinking water and water availability.

Internet of Water report cover

Internet of Water Could Revolutionize Water Management

The United States is awash in water data—the power of which has yet to be unleashed. To realize the dormant value of the data, say some producers and users, would require making them widely shareable in standardized digital formats, thereby allowing their real-time aggregation for a host of purposes beyond those that spurred their original collection. They believe that opening the data and investing in water data infrastructure would set in motion a wave of innovation, leading to more sustainable management of our water resources.

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Imagine an Internet of Water

The Nicholas Institute's Martin Doyle and Lauren Patterson write that we live in a water world that is data rich, but information poor. Public agencies—from the federal government to state to local municipalities—collect tremendous amounts of data, but those data are used for narrow, specific purposes. If those same data were shared openly, Doyle and Patterson say, and then integrated in a common digital platform, there would be game-changing opportunities. 

The Number Of Oil Spills in Texas Dropped 26 Percent in 2016

Texas Monthly reports on a study published in February and led by Lauren Patterson of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, on hydraulic fracturing spill risk in Texas and other states. It indicated that “75 to 94% of spills occurred within the first three years of well life when wells were drilled, completed, and had their largest production volumes.” 

Oil Field Spills Down 17% Last Year ($)

EnergyWire reports that a review of spill records indicates that spills declined about 17 percent during 2016 compared to the previous year. The decrease makes sense to Lauren Patterson, a researcher at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions who authored a study earlier this year on oil and gas spills (Greenwire, Feb. 21). She found that most spills happen in the first three years of a well's life. "If there's fewer new wells, I would expect the number of spills to decrease," Patterson said.

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