Dr. Rodolfo Camacho, the project director/chief of party for the USAID-funded Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP), spoke recently on the Wilson Center’s Water Stories podcast about using data to enhance water security. Implemented by Winrock International, SWP provides technical services and program implementation to advance USAID global water security thought leadership and innovation.
The discussion covered several subjects, including:
-In the context of water security, data can help decision-makers understand the amount of surface water and groundwater is available, its quality in terms of physical and chemical characteristics, and who is using water and in what quantities.
-Data collection in SWP pilot projects in Cambodia’s Stung Chinit River Basin and Kenya and Tanzania’s shared Mara River Basin. SWP has been collecting and analyzing basin-level water data in these regions to assist decision-makers to develop plans for water allocation and to preserve the resource for competing activities such as farming and fishing.
-Strategies for working around water data scarcity in developing countries, such as techniques to extrapolate data for planning purposes.
-Recent developments in global data collection and utilization, such as the Group on Earth Observations Global Water Sustainability (GEOGLoWS) framework, an international collaboration to provide globally available data on water.
-SWP’s work with the Big Data Analytics and Transboundary Water Collaboration for Southern Africa, a multi-agency, public-private effort to share groundwater data among Southern African countries and use artificial intelligence techniques to improve decision-making.