Intelligent River

The Intelligent River technology will be implemented by Dr. Gene Eidson of Clemson University. Recently, The Other Funds Committee approved a transfer of private fund for this projectThe Intelligent River®, a research program of Clemson University’s Institute of Applied Ecology, seeks to transform the science and business of managing natural resources.  The Intelligent River® software and hardware architecture provides 24/7 access to data from sensor networks measuring a wide variety of environmental parameters. The program web site, http://www.intelligentriver.org

The Intelligent River®, developed by an interdisciplinary team, has the goal of creating a highly efficient and cost-effective real-time remote data acquisition system to observe unprecedented amounts of data. The most ambitious project is to create the world’s first “automated river”.  In 2011, the National Science Foundation awarded the team a Major Research Instrumentation Award to deploy the Intelligent River® instrumentalong the 312-mile Savannah River — from the headwaters in North Carolina to the port in Savannah. The instrument will collect water quality and quantity data and aggregate data from many sources into one functional database that will populate river operational models.  At the center of the Intelligent River® technology is a novel patent-pending networking platform called a “MoteStack” which collects, stores, and transmits data at a scale that until now was cost-prohibitive. The data is critically needed to improve water resources management as demand increases for drinking water, hydroelectric power, recreation and industrial production. The grant announcement on the NSF website reads: “It is evident that the growing mismatch between water supply and demand impacts us all: USA watersheds are in peril! This project does something about it with support from EPA and USACE (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). Within the reach of environmental science, this work explores the connections among land use, energy production, climate effects and water resources applying information and computing systems.”

James D. Giattina, EPA Region 4 water protection division director, said, “The proposed watershed-scale monitoring instrument will directly enhance our efforts to monitor water quality and manage watershed factors that impact water quality in real time. This constitutes a critical innovation as our waters face increasing pressures from drought, development and emerging pollutants.” “The technologies being developed will enable us to more adaptively manage the river by optimizing water resource allocation while minimizing impacts on the environment,” said Col. Edward Kertis, former commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District. “We will be able to refine our releases based on changes in water quality, ecosystem functionality, habitat availability and human effects. The new generation of data-collection platforms could potentially be adopted by every Corps of Engineers water-management office across the country.”