IBM has landed three more deals to help utilities manage their water resources.
In Texas, the Lower Colorado River Authority utility is using IBM software to help manage resources and services covering more than 36,800 square miles and 2.2 million customers.
A similar project is bringing IBM $14.5 million from the Power and Water Corp., the water and electric utility serving about 80,000 customers in Australia's Northern Territory.
And in Japan, the Fukuoka District Waterworks Agency is using IBM software to help squeeze efficiencies out of its water system and improve water quality.
Water is getting to be big business for Big Blue, with projects ranging from flood control systems in the Netherlands and water and power efficiency improvements for the island nation of Malta's utility, to finding leaks in Dubuque, Iowa's water system and monitoring pollution and navigation hazards in the waters of Ireland's Galway Bay (see Green Light posts here and here).
All these smart water offerings come under IBM's $100 million 'Big Green Innovations' initiative. But managing water could be a $20 billion business opportunity, IBM estimates (see IBM Dives Into Smart Water Management).
The results can be water savings of nearly 30 percent for the most advanced water sensor and control systems, according to a pilot water management project at IBM's Burlington, Vt. semiconductor plant.
Much of the work IBM is doing in Texas and Australia right now is "helping the clients with a better grasp of their assets and infrastructure," to lay the groundwork for such infrastructure improvements to come, said Cameron Brooks, director of Big Green Innovations at IBM.
Still, they can pay off right away in letting utilities know where problems are occurring, schedule maintenance more wisely and prevent expensive breakdowns, he said.
Texas and Australia also face increasing water shortages and droughts, part of what many experts say could be a coming global water crisis influenced in part by climate change (see 'Peak Water' Requires Low-Cost Solution).
Moving and treating water can take lots of energy as well, and IBM is "definitely looking at opportunities to synchronize both energy assets and water assets" in projects like the €70 million ($89.9 million), five-year project it's undertaking with Malta's national water and electric utilities (see IBM Brings Smart Meters to Malta).