This Week in Sustainability: Using Big Data to Improve Accessibility to Water

| Josh Henretig

dropsGreenBiz provides an update this week on how cloud computing is helping address the state of clean drinking water in India, where access is an ongoing problem. According to a UNICEF report, each year water-borne diseases cost India $600 million in medical bills and lost productivity. One way this problem is being addressed is through the Piramal Foundation’s Sarvajal, a company that harnesses cloud technology to assist with water filtration. Sarvajal tracks water quality and usage in real-time at various locations, allowing area water to be centrally monitored. The company is set up as a franchise, which provides the additional local benefit of income to franchisees, who can earn profits in their first year of operation. It’s a perfect example of how Big Data is beginning to address issues, like accessibility to clean water in developing economies, that have befuddled policymakers for years.

Meanwhile on the other side of the equator, Treehugger reports that Carnegie Wave Energy Limited is working on a system to generate energy and provide inexpensive desalinization of water along the Australian coastline. The technology, named CETO after a Greek goddess, is a system that operates underwater by pressurizing water that will drive hydroelectric turbines in an on-shore desalinization facility. There are high hopes for the system not only for its minimal environmental impact, but also its ability to withstand pressure from storms due to its underwater location. The company touts the technology as an efficient and cost effective method of desalinization that is also modular and scalable to account for differences in need.

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