Aotearoa will cope more efficiently with torrential weather such as record rainfall if it embraces technology faster, the NZ IoT Alliance executive director Alison Mackie says.
Much of New Zealand has seen record rainfall this year as mother nature makes herself known.
But Mackie is an advocate for technology which can be a solution towards sustainability, and through IoT sensors and data analysis Kiwis can be more equipped as a society to prepare and mitigate the consequences of climate change.
She has tabled a submission on behalf of the alliance to parliament’s finance and expenditure committee on the three waters legislation bill.
The traditional approach to meter reading is out of date, costly, and does not capture accurate or timely data, she says.
“To set out legislation that does not capture the potential use of technology, nor the importance of data is concerning.
“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to reshape the water industry with the use of technology to set up a thorough water data strategy that could be the key at making New Zealand a leader of the pack.
“With climate change, we are seeing more extreme weather events, droughts, as well as sea level rise.
“Although we cannot stop these extreme consequences of climate change, this impacts and is contributing to the global water crisis, where many countries around the world have been faced with strict water rationing and water shut-downs impacting and limiting access to clean drinking water.
“Although we can point to climate change and global warming as the main contributors to the causes of these crises, the mismanagement of water resources also plays a significant role in our water accessibility.
“The current state of New Zealand’s water management does not encourage or incentivise conservation, and as a result, water is misused and wasted in large measure.
“There is potential for technology to assist in how society manages the effects of climate change; technology allows for data to be utilised to improve the quality of decision making in relation to future infrastructure investment, as well as informing public policy in regard to our global actions towards sustainability.
“However, it is concerning that technology and data were absent from the Three Waters Legislation Bill.
“Technology such as a smart water network alongside a water data strategy can create efficient systems to reduce and cut energy, waste, and costs to improve our steps toward water sustainability.
“If we look at water and understand the relationship between this resource and the people who rely on it, we can better understand society. The rebranding of technology can help as a catalyst to strengthen the bonds between consumers, policymakers, utility companies, and our precious resource of water.
“This is important within the Aotearoa context, as we have a duty to abide by the treaty of Waitangi, where water is more than a natural resource. Te Mana o te Wai, mana of the water, shows that water is a spirit in itself. To bring water into the 21st century, technology and utilising water data can be the means by which we pay this respect. “
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