As populations increase and urbanization intensifies, our water and ecosystems are at risk. Today IBM announced a project that will introduce first-in-Canada technology that uses big data to help protect our drinking water, predict floods and safeguard fragile ecosystems. Built in collaboration with the Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC), the new data management platform is installed along the Grand River, the largest river in southern Ontario, and will collect and analyze data every 15 minutes from 120 sensors over 80 square kilometers.

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The platform monitors everything from rain and snowfall, soil moisture, water turbidity, flow rates, temperature, to ground and well-water quality. Besides ensuring the safety of the 700,000 residents in the regions of Waterloo, Brantford and Six Nations, this new technology will also help safeguard half the freshwater species found in Canada and provide the opportunity for scientists to understand and address universal watershed challenges.