EPIC Announces Water Data Prize
September 18, 2020
The Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) is excited to announce the Water Data Prize! The Prize is an open invitation for teams to imagine a new way of communicating water quality.
America’s 50,000 water utilities must provide their customers with a “Consumer Confidence Report (CCR)” each year. By federal law, this report must include information about water quality, including test results on contaminants like lead, copper, and coliform bacteria.
While most utilities publish reports that technically meet these requirements, the average American would struggle to understand what they mean. We believe that there are creative ideas for how to communicate this critically important information. We are launching a design competition -- open to water utilities, tech companies, university teams, artists, or any other group -- to take an existing CCR of a water system and show a different way to package and share that information that makes it more useful to customers.
You can find a tiny fraction of CCRs here on this EPA website, or hundreds available for the state of Maryland or Mississippi which are unique in sharing them all, or individual reports from Los Angeles, Tulsa (OK), Flint (MI), Cairo (IL), or Rutland (VT). CCRs were created for the explicit purpose of increasing transparency and building trust among consumers, and we believe that with the right tweaks and improvements, they can still accomplish those goals and generate community support for investments in our water infrastructure.
The Water Data Prize is now open for applications. See www.waterdataprize.com for all the details.