April 2013 – Ideateka is now involved in a pilot project to develop a data exchange know-how for crossboundary water management.
The management of international waters emerged as an area of special attention in the early 19th century. Since then several international bodies, treaties and research activities were set up in this field. Most recently the UNESCO dedicated the year 2013 to the International Year of Water Cooperation. According to a recent World Bank study there are over 260 international rivers and over 270 shared aquifers.
Countries that share surface waters must ensure continuous data exchange in order to coordinate their activities eliminating various hazards, eg. floods. The data is geographically determined; GIS technology is involved in addition to expertise in water management. There are existing data exchange activities; the UN published a global guideline for monitoring (the pollution of) transboundary rivers in 2000. However developing countries still suffer from flood hazards that could be reduced by the introduction of standardized exchange of water management data with their neighbouring countries.
While actual water management is happening within the boundaries and with the resources of a particular country, the resulting data must be exchanged across the borders. An ideal solution for this kind of GIS data exchange can be quite similar to the concept of “roaming” in the world of global mobile technology.
This project aims to establish a know-how for the developing countries to exchange flood related water management data. The know-how will consist of procedures for structuring and storing data. The heart of the system will be perhaps a web accessible GIS database that stores all relevant water management information. Stakeholders and experts involved in the management of certain cross-boundary waters will upload data about their part of the shared water surfaces and get access to those data which were uploaded in neighbouring countries.
Further details will be published soon.