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https://www.greenbiz.com/video/translating-big-data-improve-corporate-decisions

GIST: A TOOL for Corporate Decisions on Water Use

 

Water is a key input to nearly everything made on the planet.

So we co-created the initial Earth Genome tool — The Green Infrastructure Support Tool, or GIST, focused on revealing options for corporate decisions on water use — by engaging with seven global corporations (under the auspices of WBCSD) for whom water is integral.

They include four end users (Dow, Kering, PepsiCo and Monsanto) and three of the world’s largest water infrastructure providers (Arcadis, CH2M and Veolia).

We piloted GIST in the Brazos River Basin in Texas, which is plagued by chronic multiyear droughts that are causing over $10B in lost income annually and where water shortfall is now at 3.6 million acre-feet per year and rising.

Dow asked The Earth Genome team: Can you find the most effective (for water and cost) green solutions? A visual scenario tool to give key stakeholders instant insight on the best options for investment across an entire watershed?

Dow’s Freeport plant — its largest facility globally — is located at the terminal end of the Brazos. The plant needs water, and Dow is considering major investments — in both “grey” infrastructure as well as green solutions such as restored wetlands, which act as natural reservoirs — to ensure water security for the plant.

Dow asked The Earth Genome team: Can you find the most effective (for water and cost) green solutions? A visual scenario tool to give key stakeholders instant insight on the best options for investment across an entire watershed?

Freeport wetlands. Credit: Randall Pugh.

Freeport wetlands. Credit: Randall Pugh.

In GIST, The Earth Genome team developed that tool, combining:

·       Data that mashes up 40 datasets, including from NOAA, USGS, NASA, EPA and others;

·       World-class hydrological science applied to interpret the data — including new science invented for the tool based on cutting edge work done by Arizona State University;

·       Visualization that puts the results into a user-friendly, map-based interface showing data in real-time;

·       End-user specified criteria and insights, including financial implications (such as costs/benefits, internal rate of return, and payback period); and

·       PDF outputs that make it easy for non-technical users to quickly understand the insights — including capital expenditure comparisons to other water investments and grey alternatives.

Reactions to GIST have been overwhelmingly positive. As one Microsoft official put it: “It’s impressive and unique how you have linked data to something that is really financially valuable.” WBCSD President Peter Bakker said: “We’re excited for Earth Genome to be our tool builder for all future water apps.”

GIST allows you to quickly find the proverbial “needle in the haystack” — the few places where investment may make sense...not just for Dow, but customized for any watershed stakeholder.

GIST will soon cover the entire United States, Mexico and Canada as we roll it out globally. Find out how The Earth Genome team can improve your decision making on an increasingly uncertain planet.