AI and cloud solutions to improve access to safe drinking water

safe drinking water

AI and cloud solutions will be harnessed to improve access to safe drinking water for projects focused on vulnerable populations.

The IBM Sustainability Accelerator program applies IBM technologies such as hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence and an ecosystem of experts to enhance and scale projects focused on populations vulnerable to environmental threats.

The program will support projects that help improve access to safe drinking water, improve water quality by reducing pollution, increase water-use efficiency, protect and restore water-based ecosystems, increase sanitation management and reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

According to the World Health Organisation, over 2 billion people live in water-stressed countries. This challenge is expected to be exacerbated in some regions as a result of climate change and population growth. In alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, IBM will look to support projects that help improve equitable access to safe drinking water for all.

The RFP process will include input from IBM across disciplines, and from representatives from organisations such as and the United Nations Development Programme. The selection criteria will consider the applicant’s capacity and readiness to support communities who are especially vulnerable to water-related threats, technical feasibility and sustainability for the envisioned solution, and transparency on measurement and reporting – along with others.

“Water management for the world’s most vulnerable communities is a tremendous challenge,” said IBM VP and chief impact officer Justina Nixon-Saintil. “Following our first two cohorts on sustainable agriculture and clean energy, now we look forward to working with organisations with initiatives that scale technology solutions that will support communities overcome water challenges, including shortages, pollution, or conservation.”

This year’s RFP process will include input from Ben Mandell, Utility Services Expert at, and Mary Matthews, Head of the UNDP Ocean Innovation Challenge and interim Head of Water and Ocean Governance Programme – together with other partner experts. They will share their input and expertise throughout the selection cycle.

“Innovation in the water management space is key for meeting UN SDG 6,” said Mandell, one of the judges for the water cohort selection. “Organisation initiatives that are selected to participate in the IBM Sustainability Accelerator will have a significant opportunity to make an impact with the help of IBM’s technology, expertise, and network across its large ecosystem of partners.”

Non-profit and government initiatives focused on water management can apply to the RFP from March 14th until the end of May 2023. The selected participants will be announced in November 2023.

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