By Sairam Bollapragada & Rajesh Mohandas
70% of human body is water and at least 70% of the world population is impacted with scarcity of water. Scarcity is one of the main drivers of economic value in a capitalistic society… for example the bottled water is a billion dollar industry. The players in this industry have successfully used these strategies …
- Increase ratio of Demand vs Supply : Creating an artificial demand for “Clean Water”
- Social Fashion: People today who ask for tap water are laughed at in some countries
- Convenience: Bottled water is available at every store, few years ago, taps were at every corner
Going beyond the bottled water sector, worldwide, the water sector is approximately $500 billion USD industry and growing. In the next 25 years, up to $25 trillion could be spent on global water according to the Global Water Fund.
The UN Watercourses Convention is seen as a milestone in the history of international water law, that focused on ensuring the utilization, development, conservation, management and protection of international watercourses and the promotion of the optimal and sustainable utilization thereof but faces a challenge with respect to implementation and policy adoption due to visibility to tail and loosely bound monitoring of the underlaying processes.
The legal principles and doctrines that forms the basis of each type of water rights are not interchangeable and vary according to local and national laws. Therefore, variations among countries, and within national subdivisions, exist in discussing and acknowledging the water rights.
International entities like the WWF, Conservation International, Dow, the Earth Genome and others have initiated promising approaches to monitor watershed health, for example. Satellite imagery and other forms of earth observation, combined with remote sensing and other advanced technologies, could enable us to detect water basin risks earlier.
While we will attempt to build a sequel chain to this blog addressing various use cases, in this post we will focus on discussing a use case on how Block Chain can assist managing water sources efficiently.
We see three main features of blockchain technologies in this sector coming handy:
- Distributed ledger : insure traceability and certification of legal documents of all types.
- Assets transfer : peer-to-peer transactions of assets of all types, without intermediary
- Smart contracts : autonomous programs executing pre-defined actions under immutable terms
A potential approach for water resource management in case of multi-scale water demand is to leverage distributed network approach – yet being seen as a virtualized source. Using blockchain technology for a decentralized immutable public water information (quantity, quality), there can be a predictive demand supply ensuring trust and involvement in its data ﬁdelity, data security, and data veriﬁcation.
The above information should be made available as a right to each consumer so that there is also a major awareness on diligent usage of water resource. Issues like water contamination, pollution, water quality levels, water usage policies are all critical information for the consumers which is somehow not in their knowledge radar today. More critically, such verified data, will lend transparency on the usage patterns enabling predictive analytics for the water management boards and policymakers to make more informed decisions on when/how/how much – on water usage: not taking away the fundamental water right. It will also help understand and prevent the leakage and water usage tampering on the darker side.
Super critical to the basic food chain ecosystem, the farmers leveraging blockchain technology could support peer-to-peer trading of water rights in a given basin, empowering water users who have enough or are willing to share their excess resources with others. Innovative tools like water tokens, similar to Bitcoins, can be implemented taking the water fund management to a different level with absolute transparency and traceability using GLOBAL LEDGERS in a boundary-less world.
Adding the dash of analytics to the blockchain can further lend strength to the decision making water management policies to this life critical energy source which seems to only go south with increasing demand with effective water conservation as the center-stage priority.