California Uses Blockchain And IoT To Monitor Groundwater Use

California is using Blockchain technology and Internet of Things (IoT) to tackle drought by making groundwater usage sustainable.

The Freshwater Trust (TFT) is partnering IBM Research and SweetSense Inc. to pilot technologies which can accurately monitor and track groundwater use in what is called “one of the largest and most at risk aquifers in North America.”

The University of Colorado Boulder is providing additional research support for the project, which is jointly funded by the Water Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. TFT is a nonprofit working to protect and restore freshwater ecosystems.

The scientists and engineers involved in the pilot project will demonstrate in real-time in California’s Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta on how the blockchain and remote IoT sensors can track groundwater usage.

The River Delta is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The system being developed will make getting groundwater more sustainable, collaborative, accurate and transparent process.

The project will use the IBM Blockchain Platform hosted in the IBM Cloud, where the water extraction data will be transmitted by the sensors with the help of orbiting satellites. The sensor data are transmitted over satellite networks to an online data analytics platform.

The low-cost satellite sensor technology for the project is provided by SweetSense, which is currently monitoring the groundwater supplies for over a million people in Kenya and Ethiopia.

The remote monitoring of groundwater usage with the satellite sensors will help improve and maintain sustainable access to water supplies for people, farmers, and livestock.

Individual users who require groundwater amounts beyond their share cap will be able to “purchase” groundwater shares from users who do not require all of their supply at a market-regulated rate.

The collaboration began in response to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which was signed into California law in 2014, which mandated the creation of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs), local groups to ensure regional groundwater supplies are sustainably managed.

California state legislature had passed a bill in August 2018 to establish a blockchain technology working group, to examine the potential benefits of the technology to the state.

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