Bodies of Water in the U.S.
Internet of Water
What is the Internet of Water?
At the Internet of Water, we believe better data means better water management. Through close collaboration and engagement, we help partners modernize their water data infrastructure to make more effective water management decisions. We are building a modern water data infrastructure to support water data management by providing tools that improve the discoverabiity, accessibility, and usability of water data, educational programs for data users and decision-makers, and access to a nationwide community of practice.
Building Data Infrastructure
Enable integrated and shared water data from public agencies (state, local, and tribal governments) and NGOs by providing the essential, missing technology to make an Internet of Water possible.
Demonstrate the value of integrated water data through projects and products that address near-term water management problems.
Building a Sustainable Network
Build a network of water data producers, hubs, and users across the nation to advance the uptake of these technologies and take advantage of them to improve water outcomes
Data Stories: Making Data Work for You
As we work to create an internet of water – a world with more accessible, discoverable, and interoperable water data – we like to highlight the organizations who are contributing to this vision and explore the benefits they provide to water management and other sectors. The Groundwater Protection Council has been improving groundwater and energy data since 1983 and leverages that data to enable environmental protection and increased water availability. The resources they provide to state oil and gas agencies are essential to coordinating regional approaches in the energy-water nexus.
Modern water data infrastructure is the key to overcoming the technical and capacity barriers that make water data hard to find, access, and integrate online. This infrastructure consists of both essential technology and best practices deployed by data producers and hubs in the network.
Most water data is hard to find because it is fragmented across many organizations. Currently, using water data requires specialized knowledge—about which organizations collect what kinds of water data in which geographies—to address particular questions and problems. This problem is known as “findability” or “discoverability.” Improving water data discoverability will require two key improvements to common water data publishing practices: (1) publishing high-quality metadata that describes the data and specifies how to interpret them, and (2) tying the data to real-world geography in a consistent way. The IoW is cultivating and strengthening metadata best practices and developing a water-specific search index—Geoconnex—that links the data to geographic features like streams, watersheds, aquifers, and administrative boundaries.
Once water data is found, it is often hard to access because it is held in closed systems (like Excel spreadsheets) and once accessed, it often cannot be integrated with other data in other systems, because the data are not standardized. This 2-part problem is known as “accessibility and interoperability.” An inventory of data platforms conducted by the Internet of Water identified 279 platforms across just five states and the federal government. Most of these publish data in either relatively inaccessible formats unsuitable for bulk data processing, or non-standard formats that require significant transformation to be integrated with other datasets. Many more water data platforms exist across the other 45 states, as well as Tribal and local governments and community science organizations. To improve accessibility and interoperability the IoW project is assisting these organizations in the publication of accessible, interoperable water data at the source, or through water data hubs. The IoW is advancing this strategy by (a) providing training on water data interoperability and promoting criteria for water data hubs, and (b) providing a free and open-source software suite designed to allow data providers to automate hub building.
The IoW creates and implements collaborative projects and products that address near-term water management problems to
1) demonstrate the benefits of integrated water data and leave behind improved capacity to help communities to solve water problems, and
2) test and evaluate the products developed by the IoW to improve usability and foster widespread adoption.
Integrated data for integrated water management means better decisions about water management and healthy, safe communities. While the Internet of Water’s work to improve water data infrastructure will have broad impacts on stakeholders within the water data community, the full magnitude of this impact will be realized among the wider community of water stakeholders at all levels, including those communities who have faced the most adverse effects stemming from the absence of sustainable and equitable water management. The IoW works with organizations whose mission it is to directly address issues of vulnerability and equity, to build missing but critical data delivery systems. These collaborative efforts will create the enabling conditions needed to improve decision-making and advocacy for improved, equitable water management. The water data infrastructure created by the IoW allows users to martial water data from open-source tools that require little to no technical expertise, reducing the barriers for local communities, and the organizations that serve them, while building technical capacity to support decision-making.
How can your organization partner with the IoW?
An Internet of Water makes private industry more effective at data acquisition and more efficient at data processing and analytics.
Many in private industry collect large amounts of data and would welcome the ability to integrate that data with data from other sources. However, the incompatibility of data can be cost-prohibitive. The Internet of Water’s mission to support nationwide efforts to modernize water data infrastructure and promote best practices supports the ability of private industry to expand the use of their data through integration with other data. If you are in private industry and would like to learn more about how the Internet of Water can support your work, reach out to us!
An Internet of Water supports and broadens the work of NGOs by making this critical data more accessible and usable to wider audiences, including other NGO as well as pubic agencies.
NGOs and community science organizations make up an army of committed, passionate people who collect critical data about water resources. This data can help fill the data gap in many water resource management questions. The Internet of Water works directly with NGOs and community science organizations to help them better manage, integrate, and share their data. IoW also works with national organizations, such as the Water Data Collaborative, to promote best practices and support the work of NGOs and community science organizations.
An Internet of Water enhances utility management through better data infrastructure and data management practices to streamline reporting and provide data-driven planning, preparedness and resilience.
Utilities are on the front line of our nation’s water challenges, working every day to deliver safe, affordable drinking water and treating wastewater for reuse. The Internet of Water works with utility partners to develop tools to make that work more effective and efficient. Tools, such as ABOUT-US, allow utilities to create and manage digital service area boundaries and overlay these boundaries on other data such as population and demographic data ABOUT-US improves planning and preparedness for utilities and eases the process of obtaining infrastructure upgrade support. If you are part of a utility and would like to learn more about how you can partner with the Internet of Water, reach out to us!
An Internet of Water expands the capacity of public agencies by integrating data, improves data management and best practices with a modern data infrastructure, and supports water resources management with easier and more timely access to data.
Public agencies collect and hold large amounts of data. In working with the IoW, these agencies can learn how to better structure, manage, share, and integrate their data. From the IoW Peer-to-Peer Network (P2P) to collaborative partnerships, the IoW works with people in public agencies to support their mission, streamline reporting requirements, and improve their decision-making with data-driven solutions. If you are part of a public agency and would like to learn more about how you can partner with the Internet of Water, reach out to us!
The Internet of Water Network
There are many ways to connect with the Internet of Water
Elena Kuchko @ Unsplash
Join Our Mailing List
Keep up with Internet of Water news and events.
The Internet of Water has provided New Mexico a jetpack to launch our water data services into the space of modern technology.
Our Partners & Sponsors
- California State Water Boards
- New Mexico Water Data Initiative
- Lincoln Land Institute of Land Policy
- University of Texas at Austin
- Water Data Collaborative
- Western States Water Council
- Xylem, Inc.
- University of Oregon
- NC State Climate Office
- The Commons
- Texas Water Development Board
- U.S. EPA
- U.S. Department of Energy
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Carnegie Mellon University
Collaborative Project Participants
- California Water Data Consortium
- N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
- NC Rural Water Association
- California Office of Environmental Health Hazard & Assessment
- Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians
- Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources
- Cibolo Nature Center & Farm
- Restore the Delta
- The Watershed Project
- League to Save Lake Tahoe
- Triangle J Council of Governments
- Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District