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Harnessing the Power of Big Data , Novel Technologies, and International Collaboration

Panel presented at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Summit, September 18, 2023.

Freshwater Ecologist Kathie Weathers was a panelist at UN special event during SDG Summit. Featuring water experts from around the world, the panel discussed how new technologies and inclusive international collaborations can help identify the causes of global water insecurity.

Over two billion people do not have safe access to clean water. Yet, quantifying the extent of global water insecurity, particularly when incorporating indicators such as freshwater quality, quantity, value, and governance, can be challenging. Paucity of open-access data resources can often be a limitation in assessing progress. Here, we highlight the power of harnessing open data, novel technologies, and inclusive international collaborations to quantify water insecurity around the globe.

Continual advances in remote sensing technologies, inclusive global networks, and increased accessibility of open-access data, offer exciting opportunities to further understand freshwaters around the world, including in regions that previously were relatively unexplored or suffer from insufficient access to resources. Remote sensing and open-access data platforms are revolutionizing the field of water sciences by capturing data from lakes and rivers worldwide, and openly sharing data and ideas through collaborations.

The movement towards open-access data is essential to democratizing data. By developing inclusive, diverse, interdisciplinary collaborative teams, we will fuel the integration of research disciplines, incorporate new technologies, and spark creative solutions to safeguard our global freshwater resources and work towards a future of equitable access to clean freshwater worldwide.