Smart technologies are changing the way we live and allowing cities to more efficiently deliver services. There are smart signals to optimize timing and assist with easing traffic congestion in cities, smart water meters that allow water customers to track usage and conservation in real time, and general open-data apps to keep residents informed and conserve resources.
As California continues to experience one of the worst droughts on record, creative minds have focused on ways to mitigate and manage the impact. You can see from these resources from ICMA that there are multiple ways that state and local governments and the private sector are successfully taking on this issue: from public-service awareness efforts to cloud-seeding technology to an app challenge to address climate change.
Crisis Drives Innovation
Here are just a few examples of how technology could help address the devastating drought in California as well as in Nevada:
- Predicting drought through data: Researchers are working on technology that uses satellite data that would allow farmers and others to predict an upcoming drought: The Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) is a system being developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Check out the webinar on the ESI.
- Smart water meters to measure usage in real time: These aren’t widespread in California, but tech-savvy San Francisco is leading the charge. Read more.
- Cloud seeding for more snowpack: This is a process by which scientists work to modify weather patterns in order to induce a greater amount of snowfall. While not a drought-buster, cloud seeding can buy a bit more snowpack. Nevada’s SB 423 seeks to allocate $500,000 biennially to accomplish this.
- Public Water System Drought Emergency Response (PWSDER) Program: This program provides $15 million in funding for interim and/or permanent solutions for community water systems and public water systems owned by school districts suffering drought-related water outages or threatened emergencies. Read the fact sheet.
- FEMA urges states to consider climate change in disaster plans: The Federal Emergency Management Agency has argued that states receiving FEMA funding should calculate their disaster risk based not just on history, but also on climate projections. Read the story.
- $50 million to help the drought-stricken West: The Department of Interior announced that it will invest to improve water efficiency and conservation in California and 11 other western states.
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