TIV supports IADB’s effort to Revolutionize Public Utilities in the Paper “Use of 4IR Technologies in Water and Sanitation In Latin America and the Caribbean

In 2017, the United Nations Member States convened and collectively agreed upon 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of an effort to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.” In particular, Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) was a call to action to provide “Clean Water and Sanitation” on a global scale. Although the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region has performed above the world’s average in providing basic services to its population, (95% coverage of water services and 83% of sanitation), there is still considerable room for improvement.

In response, IADB hired TIV to conduct research on the role of burgeoning digital technologies on the water and sanitation sector and to co-author a paper on “Use of 4IR Technologies in Water and Sanitation in Latin America and the Caribbean.” The study introduced novel analysis on how the recent and growing advancements in 4IR technologies could benefit Latin America. In particular, the application of the following technological advancements was investigated: Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Drones and Remote Sensing, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

The study highlighted the global problems associated with a lack of clean water access, including the risk of more than 700 million people being displaced in the next decade due to water scarcity. Specific to LAC, two major challenges were explored:

  1. Closing the institutional gap by adapting policies, regulatory frameworks, programs, financial strategies and sector capacities, and

  2. Closing the information gap by adapting methodologies and instruments to collect information in accordance with SDG indicators.

Specifically, TIV explored the solutions to the second challenge through implementation of 4IR innovations. For instance, the study revealed how the use of blockchain can allow for equitability in access to water quality and quantity data by households, industry consumers, water managers and policy makers. The role of smart contracts was delineated, such as the product WATERLEDGER which is supported by the Ethereum-based market platform. Moreover, the blockchain services provided by Australia’s “Civic Ledger” allows for water contracts to be traded without intermediaries, potentially saving USD$62 million in this novel system as compared to the antiquated technology which uses four platforms. The research done in this investigation by TIV is expected to inform IADB initiatives in the WASH space using digital technologies.

 

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