IBM announced that its research division is working on a pilot with The Freshwater Trust (TFT) and satellite sensor provider SweetSense to monitor and track groundwater use using IoT and blockchain.
Groundwater in California’s Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta is a scarce resource, and 75% of the land is agricultural. It also supplies the San Francisco Bay Area. Different users will be allocated a cap on the amount of water they can pump which will be represented by tradeable shares. If a farmer is going to let a plot of land lie fallow, they may not need the water credit that year. Hence they can sell it to someone who needs extra.
Blockchain will be used to record all data exchanges or transactions on an immutable ledger. And smart contracts will automatically execute transactions. There will also be a web site where farmers, financiers and regulators can track the groundwater use.
“The future success of these sustainability plans hinges on being able to track and report groundwater use, and likely will also require a robust way to trade groundwater shares as well,” said Alex Johnson, Freshwater Fund Director with TFT.
“Our strategic intent is to harness new technologies to develop a system that makes getting groundwater more sustainable, collaborative, accurate and transparent process, which is why we are using the blockchain. We now have the project team and funding to do it, and a strong network of partners in the region that are open to an initial testing and building phase.”
In 2014 California introduced the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). This mandates that local groups are responsible for managing groundwater sustainably. The project is jointly funded by the Water Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Tracking green resources
While they’re not related to water, there are several blockchain projects oriented tracking renewable energy and trading Renewable Energy Certificates or RECs.
Singapore SP Group has launched one of the world’s first blockchain REC marketplaces. Nevada is exploring blockchain for its certification system. In Japan, four significant organizations including Unisys are working on a blockchain trading system for prosumers. And Power Ledger recently started a trial with Australian shopping center operator Vicinity.