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IBM and the Weather Channel Launch Forecast: Change Initiative to Help Combat Freshwater Scarcity

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IBM Invests to Put Clean Water Access Front and Center on World Environment Day; The Weather Channel Becomes the Water Channel

This week for World Environment Day, IBM and The Weather Company, an IBM Business, launched Forecast: Change, a new initiative to help combat freshwater scarcity in communities around the world. Forecast: Change provides resources in support of actions that are designed to help address the lack of freshwater access around the world.

By 2025 two thirds of the world’s population could be living in water stressed areas. More than 2 billion people around the world lack access to safe water. Freshwater scarcity is a global issue that impacts human food security, the health of the environment, and our global economy. As the planet warms, the world has seen an increase in extreme severe storms and conditions such as flood and drought, leading to more natural disasters that can require massive relief efforts in affected areas. These changes in weather patterns can not only spell disaster for local communities, but also reduce our planet’s capacity to sustainably provide clean water.

“Climate change is endangering freshwater supplies around the globe, and the number of people without clean water access two billion currently will grow,” said Randi Stipes, chief marketing officer of IBM Watson Media and Weather. “We believe everyone deserves access to clean water, so The Weather Channel and IBM are raising social awareness and investing resources to help combat global freshwater scarcity.”

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Starting June 5, Forecast: Change will include:

  • An IBM contribution of $1 million in total market value to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and charity: water to help provide and protect clean water. This includes cash, expert services and technology to help expand efforts of these organizations that help provide access to clean drinking water for people in climate-distressed areas.
  • The Weather Channel brand, part of IBM, will raise awareness of freshwater scarcity by temporarily changing its name to “The Water Channel” from June 5-9 on web and the app, as well as on the separately-owned television network, part of Entertainment Studios.
  • A dedicated IBM Code and Response hackathon in Cairo, Egypt, focused on building and deploying technologies for relief efforts around natural disasters such as flooding and drought, which can help protect accessibility to clean water.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with IBM on their Forecast: Change initiative and look forward to bringing clean water to thousands of people in need,” said Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of charity: water.

“Many cities around the world are facing severe water supply constraints due to climate change, population growth, watershed degradation and invasive plant species.” said Andrea Erickson, TNC’s global managing director for water security. “By employing technology, science, and innovative financial investments, The Nature Conservancy is showing how nature-based solutions can improve water security and offer positive benefits like greater resilience to climate change to impacted communities.”

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Visitors to The Weather Channel app and weather.com can take action to help support clean water for all by:

  • Learning about access to clean water — Check your forecast on The Weather Channel app or weather.com to learn more about water scarcity and help support clean water access.
  • Understanding your personal water footprint — Everything you use, wear, buy, sell and eat takes water to produce. For instance, a new pair of jeans can take 1,800 gallons or more of fresh water to make. That’s enough to provide a family of four with clean water for months. Get more details at TheWaterChannel.org.
  • Practicing conservation — Go to TheWaterChannel.org to learn more, participate in monthly conservation challenges, and find out how you can help make an impact on world water health.

Additionally, the IBM Code and Response initiative, which seeks technology solutions for natural disaster preparedness, response and recovery – and works to implement them – will hold the Code for Cairo hackathon for developers June 22-24. Developers will focus on solutions for natural disasters related to flooding and drought, which can help protect accessibility to clean water.

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As part of its initiative focusing on the availability of fresh water, IBM also is working with the Jefferson Project, led by IBM Research, which aims to create a blueprint for the future protection and preservation of fresh water around the world. The Jefferson Project captures and analyzes IoT data to track water quality of Lake George in the northeastern area of New York State. IBM Research is also working to find safe water for remote parts of Kenya. Recently announced, The Freshwater Trust and SweetSense Inc. are collaborating with IBM to use IoT and blockchain technology to make groundwater usage sustainable, in an effort to tackle water shortages relating to drought.

IBM combines leading AI and cloud technology to predict extreme weather and help people and businesses prepare and respond. For example, IBM’s global network of Resiliency Services Centers support hybrid cloud and AI to help clients combat disruptions resulting from extreme weather, as well as from cyber threats and other crises. The company provides technology to help solve global efforts like natural disaster relief, access to clean water, and climate change.

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