While plans to develop “smart cities” are gathering pace across the world, we know little about the ways in which the discourses of datafication, smartness, and big data play out in material contexts of urban development, including utility and resource management. In this paper, we explore this intersection in the case of Bangalore’s water supply, where IBM in alliance with the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is implementing a water-flow sensor network and geographic database system under the label of “big data for water supply.” We illustrate how the BWSSBIBM approach narrows down the complex field of water provision to a question of water in- and out-flow measurements and the monitoring of BWSSB ground personnel. In theoretical terms, we discuss the ways in which these processes constitute both particular claims to knowledge, and the redefinition of citizenship as consumption.
- big data
- water governance