The scale and frequency of water-related hazards worldwide are increasing, and many people are being exposed to the impact of the disasters such as drought and flood. Between 2000 and 2019, 7,348 major disasters took 1.23 million lives, affected 4.2 billion people, and resulted in approximately US$2.97 trillion in global economic losses (UN2020). Disasters threaten water infrastructures, the environment, and the quality and quantity of water resources which may impact people’s life socially (social conflicts and dissatisfaction and health) and economically (livelihood). Thus, it is vital to plan before any disaster rather than responding after a disaster to reduce the risk. In other words, planning enables us to mitigate the impacts of the disasters considering the population growth and demand increase over the next 20-30 years.
It turns out that the government has been assigned as the main administrator for water management particularly in water supply management; however, the government alone cannot fulfill water demand management. Due to water demand management being interconnected with social and cultural issues, we bring citizens, communities, and NGOs to work with the government to make the linkage between people and authorities. Thus, the cooperation of people and planning with them on how to conserve and use water resources is crucial. To achieve this aim, having an effective and efficient communication platform to share information, network, and reach mutual understanding between different stakeholders is important. Despite diverse platforms for collecting information and communication, there is still a gap to share accurate and transparent information between people and authorities in a user-friendly platform. Moreover, due to different administrators of water-related disasters (drought and flood) making coordination between the relevant sectors is challenging.
In order to bridge the gap between the communities, NGOs, and the government, we aim to design a comprehensive platform which helps to monitor water usage, manage disasters, and educate. The platform consists of three main parts:
- Water Usage Monitoring (WUM) via IoT
- Disaster Management (DM)
Water Usage Monitoring (WUM) via IoT
In the proposed scheme, a smart sensor would be fitted on each water outlet of a house to measure the amount of water used. Then, the data would be transferred to the smart application. This allows the occupants to realize how much water they use for different tasks.
The data collected can be utilized to analyze the water consumption behavior of the community in each suburb.
In order to maximise the involvement of the individuals, the app is designed to have a user-friendly interface. In addition, using gamification, we can introduce personal challenges and financial incentives to maximise water conservation.
Disaster Management (DM)
Our proposed platform also provides means of managing resources when a disaster occurs.
Individuals from the community can sign up as volunteers based on their postcodes. When a disaster hits, the authorities can communicate with the volunteers through the app to avoid any harmful mistakes.
To accurately locate the disaster, the app gathers data from different sources such as governmental websites, social media posts, and trusted individuals within the platform. Using this data, the app projects the location of the disaster on the map.
As usage data is also present on the platform, an accurate estimate could be calculated for the water needs of the impacted area. In addition, other parts of the community could be notified to adjust their water usage.
This platform can also be used to educate individuals in a community based on their water usage. Educational games could be designed to draw the attention of the younger generation to water consumption and conservation as they are the main target of water security in the next 20-30 years.
Socio-economic: The platform allows optimal response time by providing suitable means of communication and acknowledging capacity and resources at times of disasters which require quick response such as floods and bushfires. This can lead to better coordination and collaboration among the stakeholders which avoids wasting resources.
Environmental: The platform helps increase the awareness of the citizens about water concerns, which is beneficial for the environment in the long run.