The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has launched a pilot version of an innovative data-sharing platform within a virtual community for Caribbean water utilities. Through the platform, utilities can exchange real-time data on parts and materials, expediting mutual aid and ultimately cutting costs.
Through Source of Innovation, the IDB has partnered with H2bid, Inc. to provide a one-year pilot version of this groundbreaking platform, which is powered by AURSI. The H2bid/AURSI platform is a unique virtual community with a network effect that connects utilities across various sectors, including water, wastewater, gas, and electricity. It aims to help Caribbean water utilities by:
- Providing access to replacement parts.
- Encouraging discovery of new technologies.
- Helping share technical information, such as specifications.
- Promoting an exchange of best practices, policies, and procedures.
- Reducing waste by making surplus items available to other Caribbean utilities.
This innovative pilot platform will streamline collaboration among Caribbean water utilities, enabling them to recover from climate-related disasters caused by increasingly frequent and severe storms. Additionally, it addresses current supply chain challenges by expediting mutual aid during emergencies to restore service quickly.
Seven utilities are participating in the data-sharing platform:
- Water & Sewerage Corporation (WSC), The Bahamas
- Barbados Water Authority (BWA), Barbados
- Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL), Belize
- Guyana Water Inc. (GWI), Guyana
- National Water Commission (NWC), Jamaica
- N.V. Surinaamsche Waterleiding Maatschappij (SWM), Suriname
- Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), Trinidad and Tobago
Users at utilities will have the opportunity to connect with their peers from other participating utilities through the virtual community. During the pilot phase, the IDB and participating utilities will explore the feasibility of expanding the pilot version to include a pooled procurement program, a proven method for saving costs through bulk purchases.
"The effects of climate change make it imperative to strengthen the resilience, and efficiency of public utilities” said Sergio Campos chief of the IDB’s Water and Sanitation Division. “In order to enhance public utilities to implement fast and effective responses to the effects of climate change the Bank has supported the creation of a platform for resources sharing. By launching this pilot platform, we are creating a network ecosystem where utilities work together to improve climate resilience, save money, and make smarter decisions.”
“The H2bid/AURSI team is excited to partner with IDB to introduce this new concept of a virtual, data-sharing community to water utilities in the Caribbean region,” said Glenn Oliver, CEO, H2bid. “We are already seeing interest from more organizations and water utilities in the Caribbean region, which is great because the virtual community has a network effect—meaning the benefits for participating utilities will only increase as more utilities join.”
Representatives from the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association, the Caribbean Water & Sewerage Association, and the Caribbean Development Bank actively participated in the pilot platform launch event and expressed their organizations’ support for the virtual community and their strong desire to see it expand to include more Caribbean water utilities.