Research Shows Cloud Computing Conserves Water

IBM has recently proved it can conserve water with cloud computing.  The city of Dubuque deployed IBM’s analytics and cloud computing technology in 2010 as part of its Smarter Sustainable Research Program. IBM was able to reduce water utilization by 6.6 percent and increased leak detection and response eight-fold for Dubuque.

For 9 weeks, IBM and the city of Dubuque provided 151 households with information, analysis, insights and social computing around their water consumption. A smarter meter system was used for the research project. The meter system collected and transmitted water consumption data to the IBM Research Cloud. The process was carried out every 15 minutes. IBM says its cloud computing assisted with the analysis of data followed by the sending of notifications of potential leaks and irregularities to volunteers.

The research project provided an integrated view of water consumption which helped city officials to conserve water and encourage behavior changes amongst the resident of the city of Dubuque. Roy D. Buol, mayor of Dubuque, said, “Sustainable Dubuque began in 2006 as a holistic, grass-roots effort to make our community more sustainable and to create a model for cities across the country with populations under 200, 000. In 2009, we chose IBM as our partner to develop the tools our residents need to make better decisions about how they use resources like water, electricity, and natural gas. We are very encouraged by the results of the water pilot study and the community-wide benefits they offer.”

Milind Naphade, program director, smarter city services, of IBM Research said, “Today, municipalities and citizens more than ever need to understand their patterns of behavior and how to change them. Whether it is in water consumption, traffic patterns or energy use, they need new technologies to enable the change. Our sustainability initiatives in Dubuque prove that, by using advanced analytics, community engagement, and cloud computing, government officials and citizens will have access to real-time data to alter their patterns of behavior, which will save them money. This water sustainability pilot case is a template for communities worldwide that seek to conserve various types of resources.” Roy D. Buol noted that the “study will soon include transportation through vehicle miles traveled and wellness.”