Edward J. Sullivan | Portland State University
We live in an urbanizing world. Large cities with population greater than 750,000 would represent US$21.8 trillion in economic activity or 47.7% global GDP. These cities are already home to 1.7 billion people, about 24% of the world’s population. By the year 2050, it is expected that ninety percent of the world’s urban population growth will occur in Asia and Africa. Economic growth goes hand-in-hand with the urban growth. With the population increase in cities, there is a need for ample and consistent supply of water. The supply of water is a fundamental component of the environmental, economic and social health of cities. There is a huge investment of US$90 billion a year in water supply infrastructure to ensure delivery of clean water to the citizens. If the current trend continues, the volume of urban water need will have to go up by 80% by the year 2030. In this context, The World Economic Forum classified water security as one of the greatest threats to global prosperity in the year 2014.Hence, it becomes essential to manage the water resources in an efficient manner to cater to a large population. The world around us is transformed by various technologies and adopted by humans. Improvement in the performance and cost of computing power, storage and bandwidth are the causes of these technologies. Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies like Virtual & Augmented Reality, Big Data Analytics, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Block Chain have created disruption in various industries through the way businesses are run. India as a country has an advantage of monetising digital technologies for solutions related to social issues due to STEM qualified expertise and experience. AI4SG has got the potential to provide the most sought after Water Security for a country like India. The current study attempts to identify whether there is a dearth in the supply of water due to lack of rain or excess exploitation; or is it that the resources are available but the management of water resources is not efficient. State-wise analysis across India is conducted to identify the gap. The measure used for this study is the Composite Water Quality Index devised by Niti Aayog. The study has found that the gap between supply and demand of this significant resource can be bridged with the proven technology of Block Chain. Issue of Water loss, Water trading and Water quality could be resolved using Block Chain technology. The most common areas of improvement in Water management across various States of India are Water supply, Ground water restoration/rejuvenation, Participatory Irrigation, On-farm use, and Waste water treatment. Block Chain as a technology solution is proposed to bring in possible resolution to these issues to improve upon the water management process.