The average city procurement officer spends upwards of 15 hours researching cost, quality, and compliance specifications before deciding on where to spend our taxpayer dollars. This process is made more difficult by outdated systems and the many intricacies of policy...
Bringing Water into the 21st Century: Managing Water with Open Data
I chaired a session during the 4th Annual Silicon Valley Energy & Sustainability Summit organized by The Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
This special program convened on June 30th at Oracle Headquarters in Redwood City, California. The overarching theme was built around this question: “What’s Next After Paris & What’s In Store For California?”
Meeting the goals laid out in the Paris agreement signed in December 2015 will require new technologies, new policies and new financing – and, even then, the successful transition to clean energy will be quite difficult.
In seeking to meet the needs of residents, businesses and the environment, California lacks a comprehensive and accurate way to assess the water use and supply under its management responsibility. The State of California currently lacks the water data, or the widely adopted practices and technologies, which will enable better water management by its own governmental agencies. In addition, water infrastructure throughout the state is aging and in need of repair, numerous communities are without safe water, and many suffer from unreliable and degraded water supplies.
This 60-minute panel session featured a vigorous discussion of the various policies, technologies and practices that help California identify and remedy the problems it faces, while fostering innovation to address our most basic needs. As you might expect from anything involving Meeting of the Minds, there was a special focus on data and information systems.
The panelists who joined me on stage were these four leaders:
Goverment Affairs Manager Sonoma County Water Agency
Assemblymember California State Assembly Author of AB 1755, The Open and Transparent Water Data Act
Director of Operations and Market Development WaterSmart Software
Water Sector Lead for Smart Integrated Infrastructure and Director of Water Treatment Technology Black & Veatch
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Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
In recent years, a variety of forces (economic, environmental, and social) have quickly given rise to “shared mobility,” a collective of entrepreneurs and consumers leveraging technology to share transportation resources, save money, and generate capital. Bikesharing services, such as BCycle, and business-to-consumer carsharing services, such as Zipcar, have become part of a sociodemographic trend that has pushed shared mobility from the fringe to the mainstream. The role of shared mobility in the broader landscape of urban mobility has become a frequent topic of discussion. Shared transportation modes—such as bikesharing, carsharing, ridesharing, ridesourcing/transportation network companies (TNCs), and microtransit—are changing how people travel and are having a transformative effect on smart cities.
A study by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 2008 found that the impact of routine weather events on the US economy equates annually to about 3.4% of the country’s GDP (about $485 billion). This excludes the impact of extreme weather events that cause damage and disruption – after all, even “ordinary” weather affects supply of and demand for many items, and the propensity of businesses and consumers to buy them. NCAR found that mining and agriculture are particularly sensitive to weather influences, with utilities and retail not far behind.
Many of these, disaster management included, are the focus of smart city innovations. Not surprisingly, therefore, as they seek to improve and optimize these systems, smart cities are beginning to understand the connection between weather and many of their goals. A number of vendors (for example, IBM, Schneider Electric, and others) now offer weather data-driven services focused specifically on smart city interests.