When people think about innovations around climate change, they naturally go to the big projects: solar energy farms, offshore wind, and the electrification of everything that uses fossil fuels today. But a lot of the technology we need doesn't generate the same kinds of headlines, or attract the same level of funding and government support. In this episode, we're going to go into one of these small-but-important pieces: water management data collection.
Droughts and floods are both effects of global warming that are already increasing in both frequency and severity. And the impact hits low-income populations hardest and soonest.
These countries also have the most challenges collecting the data that they need to make good decisions in dry and wet periods. They lack the resources and infrastructure for the automated solutions used to monitor places like the Columbia River watershed in the United States. Today most of that work is done by volunteers using pencil and paper, if it is done at all. Yet without this basic information about this critical resource in real-time, it's hard to make good decisions that could reduce the impact of droughts and floods.
Louise Kroneborg-Jones, founder of Water Insight, is building a data pipeline that is resilient and robust enough to work in the remote corners of the world. Louise and her team are using the simplest of tools to build a system for data collection and visualization that will make it easier for low-income countries to gather the data they need to make decisions, and for researchers to understand how climate change is affecting lakes, rivers and reservoirs.
She'll share the work she's doing in Malawi to demonstrate that this system can work, and that it can scale. She'll describe the challenges she's had in finding funding and support, the unexpected ways that she's found the help she needed, and the process she's using to ensure that she's making the most of the resources she has to help countries like Malawi get more visibility into the state of their water systems.
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