IBM Bets on Water 'Smart Grid'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2009 11:07 AM CDT
A buoy that uses sensors to collect data on water quality and sea conditions is seen in Galway Bay, Ireland. It's part of the SmartBay system, developed by IBM and the Marine Institute of Ireland.   (AP Photo/Marine Institute of Ireland)
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(Newser) – IBM is developing a set of water grid technologies, designed to revamp the world’s badly outdated fresh water delivery systems in much the same way many countries are trying to upgrade their energy grids, CNET reports. IBM projects the water management business could be worth $20 billion within 5 years. “Water is the great sleeping crisis,” says the CTO of IBM’s green division, “and it is most definitely starting to wake up.”

In many developed countries, the physical infrastructure is so old that the IT grid may seem a lower priority. The US, for example, loses 25% to 45% of its water through old, faulty pipes. But IBM foresees governments and corporations wanting every water conservation tool available. “It’s something like greenhouse gases,” the CTO says. “Ten years ago, few people were talking about them.”