IBM to Improve Dutch Flood Control and Water Management Systems

IBM will be using smart information exchange to accelerate water management innovation.

IBM has launched Digital Delta, an innovation program that will use Big Data to transform flood control and the management of the Dutch water system. Digital Delta will investigate how to integrate and analyse water data from a wide range of existing data sources, including precipitation measurements, water level and water quality monitors, levee sensors, radar data, model predictions, and current and historic maintenance data from sluices, pumping stations, locks, and dams.

At Digital Delta's core is IBM’s Smarter Water Resource Management solution, an intelligent, cloud-based system built on IBM’s Intelligent Operations for Water technology and consulting expertise.

With 55 percent of the Dutch population located in areas prone to large-scale flooding, the Netherlands has immense experience in preventing floods and managing water. However, due to the increasing frequency and impact of extreme weather events, the risk not only of floods but also droughts is increasing.

The Netherlands has one of the best monitored water systems in the world, but with so much data collected, relevant data can be difficult to find, data quality can be uncertain and with data in many different formats, this creates costly integration issues for water managing authorities. Solving these Big Data challenges is an important step towards a Smarter Water management approach.

The initiative will provide water experts with a real-time intelligent dashboard to harness information so it can be shared immediately across organizations and agencies. Using data visualization and deep analytics, these insights can help prepare for imminent difficulties, enabling authorities to coordinate and manage response efforts, and to enhance the on-going efficiency of overall water management over the longer term. With better integrated information, water authorities will be able to prevent disasters and environmental degradation, while reducing the cost of managing water by up to 15 percent.

"The implications for this work are global as cities around the world move swiftly to adopt smarter solutions to better manage the water cycle,” said Michael J Dixon, general manager, Global Smarter Cities, IBM.  “With this innovative collaboration, IBM is setting a worldwide example using the power of Big Data, analytics, and optimization to better manage water quality, flood risk, and drought impact while also stimulating new innovations in this crucial area of technology."

Together, Rijkswaterstaat, local Water Authority Delfland, Deltares Science Institute, the University of Delft, and IBM will combine data and technology from several new and existing water management projects: Digital Delta will explore the potential for sharing and managing water data in new ways, using the latest technology and deep industry expertise.