Governor Newsom’s Executive Order sets priorities for a water resilient portfolio for California. The Governor states:
“To meet these challenges, we need to harness the best in science, engineering and innovation to prepare for what’s ahead and ensure long-term water resilience and ecosystem health. We’ll need an all-of-above approach to get there.”
California’s environmental agencies are charged with assessing existing water demands and supplies, quality, future water needs, impacts from climate change, and existing water programs and policies.
All of these challenges involve trusted partnerships and data intensive analysis. Something we at AQUAOSO began working on a couple years ago. At AQUAOSO our mission is to build a water resilient future through advanced technologies. Alignment of our mission with the recent efforts from the state is evidence that building a resilient water future is a critical problem worth solving. There are two main points that stuck out to us in the Executive Order: the mandate to embrace innovation and new technologies, and to strengthen existing partnerships while engaging in “intensive” outreach.
Embracing Innovation and New Technologies
As a water focused technology company, the ideals of flexible water management and utilization of technology are baked into our DNA. It is a matter if adaption to a changing climate and regulatory decisions that necessitate flexibility. A difficult aspect of embracing innovation is dealing with the myriad of datasets and processes that are currently in place, largely a holdover from the 20th century. We can no longer ignore the fractured data and the lack of collaboration that are hurdles to meeting 21st century challenges.
California is a large, complex state with an equally diverse set of challenges to match. AQUAOSO works diligently to collect, clean, analyze, and provide actionable data for our clients to better manage their water risk. Although there are “open data” portals available from the state, the data is only useful if you know what you are looking for and how to translate it to a specific use case. Because there are many different use cases, it is difficult for the state to remedy each specific problem. Effective innovation will come from public-private partnerships with companies and organizations focused on a specific set of problems for specific stakeholders.
AQUAOSO discovered the importance of both bringing data together and communicating that data in an easy to understand format utilizing GIS, customer education, and pre-formatted analytical reports. To make data accessible and usable, more is required than offering the raw data. Agricultural stakeholders need context and guidance on what the data means and how use that data to make smarter water decisions. Innovation is more than pure technology. Innovation is a combination of solving current problems and anticipating future complications for people. The state will need to emphasize communicating and solving problems for specific stakeholders as the output of innovative technological ventures.
Strengthening existing partnerships while engaging in “intensive” outreach
In addition to our focus on innovation, AQUAOSO is dedicated to our customers and partners. Partnerships do require initial outreach to understand issues facing various stakeholders. However, after understanding the problem, it is critical to continue listening and making a difference in those stakeholders’ lives. AQUAOSO found a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and value from meeting with a variety of stakeholder’s in California’s agricultural economy. By listening and building a deep understanding the problems facing California’s agricultural economy, AQUAOSO is able to better solve our client’s problems. The state needs to follow a similar process in order to truly strengthen partnerships in the agricultural community and work with established companies and organizations with strong ties to their respective stakeholder groups.
Our efforts to build a water resilient future provided the opportunity to face challenges in the agricultural and water space. Technological innovation is a critical component in adaptation to climate change. Converting data into intelligent, actionable steps is paramount. However, the most important element in tackling California’s water challenges are trusted relationships with open channels of communication, education, and guidance. Take it from us, building water resilience is a challenging task to tackle, but one that is necessary and worth doing.