Water Mission

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The IBM jStart team is partnering with Water Mission to develop a real-time data alerting and analysis dashboard to instantly view the nonprofit’s existing and future global operations. Water Mission, a nonprofit engineering organization that provides sustainable safe water, sanitation and hygiene solutions for the global water crisis, manages the operations of more than 2,000 safe water systems around the world.

The advanced monitoring and integration into Water Mission’s existing platform will enable it to make more strategic decisions about future water system installations and to view the financial performance and sustainability of each system around the world.

Alerting System

The primary solution is a notification system built around alerts.  This provides the in country managers with insights into the water treatment systems, providing real-time access to system functions.  Previously, country managers would need to look for specific alert conditions and all associated systems in a particular region.  Additionally, the alerts serve as predictive maintenance signals.  As example, if the water flow at a pump is falling, that may indicate repair is required.  Since it can take several weeks to get replacement parts out to a remote location, this advanced warning system improves the delivery of clean water.

The architecture in Figure 1 uses MongoDB on IBM Compose, with a SendGrid Service all on IBM Bluemix.

The alerts will give Water Mission actionable insight into the safety, accessibility, and sustainability of its treatment systems.

“The real-time alerting system allows us to ask questions about our global installations that we haven’t been able to ask or immediately react to in the past,” says Ryan Reif, Information Systems Manager, Water Mission.”
The alerts can signal many important factors that lead to productive actions on Water Mission’s part.  For example, important information or conditions such as if the water usage decreases, it could mean that a tap is broken or the community is using a different water source.  If water usage increases, it could indicate that the community is selling more water to nearby villages for financial sustainability of the system.  Alternatively, an increase in usage may mean that a pipe is broken and water is flowing outside of the public access points.
“Once the alerting dashboard is fully operational, our headquarters team can troubleshoot and react quicker with our in-country system operators and make better, informed decisions about future installations.  Ultimately, it will serve our mission to ensure sustainable, safe water is flowing for people who need it,” says Reif.

Figure 1: Architecture


Over time the alerts will become more sophisticated. The parameters and set points are currently created from basic systems information such as pressure, chemical analysis and flow.

Phase 1 includes:
  • Low Usage
  • High Usage
  • Usage Trent
  • No Data Received
Phase 2 includes:
  • No Usage
  • High Unscheduled
  • Service Outage
  • High Total Coliforms
  • High Fecal Coliforms
  • High Turbidity
  • Low/High Chlorine

Analytics at Work

IBM Analytics is used to look for specific parameters in the water treatment systems data. This data is matched to the various email subscribers of the data.  When fully implemented, the email alerting system interface as indicated in Figure 2.


Figure 2: Email alert interface for Water Mission’s safe water treatment system in Ugana.














Predictive Modeling and More

Predictive alerts will be established in the monitoring system. By delving into the trends found in the data and applying IBM Analytics Cloud Data Services there are a myriad of paths to evolve this architecture.

The next development phase includes programing and building a real-time data alerting and analysis dashboard. As historical data accumulates, the dashboard will allow easy viewing of seasonal or humanistic trends over time.

IBM jStart is proud of the partnership with Water Mission and will continue its efforts to contribute to bringing sustainable safe water solutions to 1.8 billion people who lack access to it around the world.




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