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How AI and an Irish ‘Dog’ Could Help Water Management

Klir, which sells a water management and compliance platform, has launched a ChatGPT feature for utilities. The idea is to hand off tedious and data-heavy tasks to artificial intelligence while safeguarding data.

The latest matchup of artificial intelligence and government technology comes from the water management space, where ChatGPT stands ready to gain a foothold in utility compliance.

Klir, which sells a water management technology platform, says the latest version of its platform Klir Comply includes generative AI capabilities, including ChatGPT-4.

The people running water systems can now “receive holistic insights into their utility’s data through an AI-powered chatbot while benefiting from the scalability, reliability, performance and security of Microsoft Azure,” according to a statement from Klir.

More specifically, that means those utility professionals can use the new Klir tool to ask such questions as “Is our water compliant today?” or give commands such as “Draft me a summary of last week’s water quality,” according to the company.

The idea is to use AI to handle relatively tedious tasks while also guarding internal data.

The chatbot takes the form of an Irish Water Spaniel named “Boots,” a reflection of the company’s origins and ongoing presence in Ireland (the company also has offices in Canada and the U.S.). The chatbot is the point through which users can “query millions of data points within the utility’s private internal data,” the statement said.

Klir services utilities in the U.S. and elsewhere — Orlando is one example. The company has raised $19.6 million, according to Crunchbase.

This new AI feature represents not only a new frontier for rapidly growing generative AI technology, but a tool that combines language learning with what amounts to technical education focused on water management, Tom Stafford, Klir’s chief product officer, told Government Technology.

As Stafford sees it, the AI-backed compliance tool is a step beyond the siloed technology often used within water utilities, and can help managers deal with climate change and population growth with more digital efficiency.

More AI will come to the utility space, Stafford said, with the technology helping managers “build intelligence” and “pick out trends and associations. More and more monitoring work could be done with AI.”

Utilities are certainly taking notice of the AI trend. One example comes from Texas, where Olea Edge Analytics raised $35 million toward expansion of AI water management technology.
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.