Role of Emerging Digital Technologies in Smart Governance

Co-organiser : Future Earth, Water Future, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Earth System Governance

Under highly dynamic and uncertain conditions, water governance systems often face information asymmetry and high transaction costs and fail to meet the challenges posed by complex water management problems.

Disruptive, foundational technology, intelligent use of big data to monitor behavioural change and societal learning can help in evidence based water governance to meet some of the challenges.

As a foundational technology, Blockchain tech,for instance, has the potential to create new operating foundations for water governance systems and can create a robust mechanism for an integrated urban water management. Blockchain systems integrated with smart water meters in residential regions, recreational parks, and other parts of the city to accumulate water quantity and quality data are examples to determine water cost savings approaches as well as identify water overuse or abuse. It will also guide new approaches to efficient, transparent and democratic water governance.

However, the effectiveness of the application of such technology depends on set institutional structure, including a well-defined property rights, effective intermediaries, an individual’s ability to access these intermediaries, an ability to leverage the available data, and the integration of several disparate systems and stakeholders. In addition, these solutions are susceptible to inefficiencies, corruption, bureaucracy, human errors, and tampering.

The session will bring in leading experts to explore emerging technologies as a tool to deliver smart governance that can decrease transaction cost, reduce informational asymmetries, modernize the regulatory processes, and act as an accounting, auditing, interlinking and transacting platform that enables efficient, transparent and democratic water governance.