In many parts of the world, management of water resources and infrastructures is fragmented between agencies at multiple levels – state, provincial, and local – and sometimes between functions within individual agencies. Consequently it is often impossible to take a holistic view of the issues at hand to enable effective management of the resource or infrastructure – either because of the overhead of managing the coordination required, and/or because of politics between the different stakeholders. In their work for IBM, the authors created a concept of an information technology (IT)-enabled “collaboration platform” that integrates different water data sources with IT tools to enable multiple entities to maintain and share a “common operating picture.” This greatly assists with coordination and reduces politics to manageable levels. In this paper, the authors describe the collaboration platform and its benefits by reference to examples of such platforms in use, and propose a reference technical architecture for creating collaboration platforms.

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