In wake of drought, pilot project in California tracks water use with IBM's blockchain

A new pilot project in northern California will investigate whether blockchain can help farmers, financers and regulators monitor the use of groundwater in the wake of a regional drought.

The Freshwater Trust nonprofit is partnering with IBM Research and SweetSense for the project. Using sensors from SweetSense, the project collaborators will transmit data on water extraction to the IBM Blockchain Platform, which is hosted on IBM's cloud.

Through a web-based dashboard, consumers of water — such as farmers, financers and regulators — will all be able to monitor and trade groundwater shares. For example, a strawberry farmer who is planning to take the season off can sell water shares to another farmer using the blockchain platform.

"Our strategic intent is to harness new technologies to develop a system that makes getting groundwater more sustainable, collaborative, accurate and transparent process, which is why we are using the blockchain," Alex Johnson, freshwater fund director with The Freshwater Trust, said in a news release.

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