The Internet of Water (IoW) seeks to accelerate efforts to make public data more discoverable, accessible, and usable. In the scientific community, this is often referred to as making data FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable). One starting point is to understand what publicly collected water data already exist, particularly data related to a water budget. What is the quantity (how much water is there), quality (how clean is the water), and use (what purposes are water serving). The IoW has begun to inventory publicly (i.e. governmental) collected data to identify:
- who is collecting water data,
- the purpose of collection,
- types of water data collected, and
- the discoverability, accessibility, and usability of those data to secondary data users.
This inventory provides an assessment of how discoverable, accessible, and usable a platform is for providing water data. The inventory began with the federal government, as well as three state governments: California, North Carolina, and Texas. The inventory will continue to grow and we provide resources for local or state governments to assess the FAIRness of their own platforms. This inventory is based on a outsider’s perspective of FAIRness. The scores generated are solely based around data openness and do not take into consideration that these data platforms (platform simply refers to the place online where data are found and accessed and is used interchangeably with website, data access point, etc.) were rarely designed to be FAIR. Often, platforms are designed to meet the needs of a specific community and may be meeting those needs well. The results from this inventory form the baseline for developing best practices and resources to help making water data more FAIR.