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Winrock International

The opportunities of Big Data for Water Security

As coordinator of the Big Data Analytics and Transboundary Water Management Collaboration for Southern Africa, the Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP) works to provide important training sessions for both the teams conducting research for the Collaboration and the broader development sector. These training sessions began in 2019 with an eight-part training series with experts from the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

SWP followed these trainings with a second webinar series in the spring of 2020 with experts from IBM Research Africa. The “Crash Course on Big Data for Water Security” included seven seminars on the potential for big data analytics to enhance water security, with a special focus on East Africa and Southern Africa.

The IBM researchers explored how the latest technology can be used in the water sector. Their presentations ranged from an overview of big data and its uses to more focused discussions on blockchain technology and PAIRS, an IBM platform designed for massive geospatial-temporal data (maps, satellite, weather, drone, Internet of Things (IoT)), query and analytics services.

The seminar series concluded with a presentation by SWP Chief of Party Dr. Rodolfo Camacho about SWP’s work to improve transboundary river management in the Mara River Basin, shared between Kenya and Tanzania.

To view a full playlist of each webinar, click here.

Seminar Topic Presenter Background
Seminar 1 Introducing big data analytics and machine learning Naweed Khan Research Scientist, IBM Research-Africa (Johannesburg)
Seminar 2 Geospatiotemporal data integration at scale Dr. Bruce Elmegreen Research Scientist, IBM Research (New York)
Seminar 3 Demonstration/Tutorial of the PAIRS platform, from simple queries to algorithms Dr. Bruce Elmegreen Research Scientist, IBM Research (New York)
Seminar 4 Introducing blockchain with examples Nelson Bore Research Engineer, IBM Research Africa (SA)
Seminar 5 Demonstrating the use of blockchain technology in water resource management Nelson Bore Research Engineer, IBM Research Africa (SA)
Seminar 6 Big data analytics in the context of data quality challenges & the potential for transformation of water resource management through current and upcoming technological innovations Dr. Levente Klein Research Scientist, Data Science and Internet of Things, TJ Watson Research Centre (White Plains, N.Y.)
Seminar 7 Addressing Data Needs and Uncertainty in Developing Transboundary Water Allocations Plans- The Mara River Basin Dr. Rodolfo Camacho Project Director, USAID Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP), Winrock International (Washington)

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Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP)

The Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP) is a five-year, Leader with Associates cooperative agreement that supported U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) thought leadership, innovation and action in global water security. SWP was implemented by Winrock International and its partners Tetra Tech, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Resources […]