iMoMo - Innovative Technologies for Monitoring, Modeling and Managing Water
The 1992 UN Dublin Conference on Water and the Environment established the main principles of modern water management. It includes the imperative necessity of reliable data for water resources planning and management. This issue has been reemphasised over the last 20 years and is at the core of many global programs (e.g. GCOS, GTOS, IGOS, WHYCOS, Aquastat, GEMS-Water, GPCC, GRDC etc.).
Despite these and other initiatives, data on water remain scarce and fragmented. One key reason is that traditional sensing in hydrology, hydro- and agro-meteorology does not scale because of high investment costs as well as difficult maintenance of fixed-location stations, esp. in remote and/or poor regions. And, even where they are existing, data often are difficult to access and interpret for stakeholders due to breakpoints in the automatic flow and analysis of data. Advancements and innovations in low-cost open-innovation sensor and communication technology, in hard- and software integration as well as in data synthesis via modelling and visualisation open up new perspectives to address these issues.
iMoMo is a Global Initative that is dedicated to technology innovation in distributed monitoring of water resources, effective data management and synthesis as well as the distribution of expert knowledge to stakeholders. The rationale is that good data and knowledge helps management and conflict resolution. iMoMo's approach is low-cost and high-tech and heavily focussing on the involvement of communities and existing institutions for technology co-design and proper appropriation. The development and use of these non-traditional data is complementary to data from other sources, including from traditional monitoring stations and from remote sensing.
In Central Asia, the Soviet legacy has left over a heavily structured and highly sophisticated top-down approach to water resources management, including irrigation and hydropower. However, after the demise of the Soviet Union, the water use schemes did only very partially get modernised. Most of the workflows in water resources in the region still remain paper-based. This hinders the effective flow, exchange and management of information between stakeholders, including Water User Associations (WUA), Rayvodkhozs, Oblvodkhozs, Central Water Authorities and Basin Organisations as well as International Water Coordination Bodies.
The situation provides a unique entry point for the application and deployment of iMoMo technologies. The goal is to increase data coverage through the complementary use of non-traditional sensing approaches on the one hand. On the other, iMoMo enables more effective management and valorisation of data based on the existing procedures and protocols for data exchange at national and transboundary scales. Together with stakeholders from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, including the Dept. of Water Resources and the Kazakh branch of EC-IFAS, the iMoMo Initiative is conducting pilots at different levels in the Chu and Talas River Basins.