Global Water Watch: a platform to be developed by Deltares, WWF and WRI funded by Google
Published: 13 April 2021
Water equality across society and sectors
One ambition is to establish an equal balance for water in our society and between sectors; another is to manage climate-change-induced floods and droughts. To help achieve this balance, Global Water Watch will provide public information about available freshwater resources. The platform will make extensive use of AI algorithms to convert earth observation data into relevant water information by merging those data with available local measurements.
Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate
The financial support for the development of the app was covered by the Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate, to which Deltares contributed as a successful applicant. “We’ve received an overwhelming number of applications to the Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate, and we and the expert jury were convinced by the Deltares approach. We’re excited about how Deltares is leveraging technology to tackle challenges such as climate-change-induced floods and droughts, and helping build a greener and more resilient future,” said Rowan Barnett, Head of Google.org for EMEA and APAC.
Deltares and partners will use AI to identify and classify existing water bodies and to generate information about water dynamics in near-real time. Water variables derived directly from satellite images without proper interpretation are inadequate for decision-makers facing questions like “How much water is stored in my reservoir?”, “Do we have enough water to irrigate crops this year?”, “How does the upstream country manage its water resources?”. The Global Water Watch platform will generate the water information needed. Gennadii Donchyts (principal investigator, Deltares): “We will use satellite data, machine learning and cloud computing to provide detailed and near-real-time water information to ensure sustainable water use and the management of extremes, transparency between riparian states, across sectors and groups in society, with greater equality as a result.”
Roles in this partnership
Deltares will focus on remote sensing and machine learning algorithms in the field of water and the subsoil. WRI’s role in the project is to work on front-end user requirements and use case development. WWF’s role is to be involved in stakeholder engagement and convening dialogue with local communities. Google.org is the philanthropic arm of Google. Their goal is to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges — combining funding, innovation, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone.
About the Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate
The Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate commits €10M to fund bold ideas that aim to use technology to accelerate Europe’s progress toward a greener, more resilient future. Selected organisations can receive up to €2M in funding and possible customised post-grant support from the Google for Startups Accelerator to help bring their ideas to life.