Water Data Prize

Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC)
United States
Position Type: 
Experience Level: 
Not Specified


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

America’s 50,000 water utilities must provide their customers with a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) each year. CCRs are one, but a critical, element of establishing trust with customers and there is documented evidence of mistrust among communities of color toward water utilities and services. This report must include information about water quality, any violations from the past year, and various contaminants that might be in the water. However, 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 collaborative group - to take an existing CCR for a water supply and show a different way to package and share that information that makes it more useful to customers. Want to know more?

The Problem
Most utilities prepare these reports according to the minimum requirements, use complex scientific language and figures. The resulting reports are not easily understood by most people.  Millions of utility customers would struggle to even find their report.  And the reports are old news - published once a year, summarizing data that are 6-18 months old.

We believe that CCRs can live up to their name - with some redesign, these reports could build confidence and trust in drinking water or more easily convey when water is unsafe for use. CCRs could be web native, simply translated, and easily understood. Current technologies and tools for data collection make it possible to share much more frequent water quality data with consumers. Visualization technology and practice could help more people understand and use the information. How do we integrate this know-how into CCRs and provide utilities with a cost-effective way of communicating with their customers and building trust?  

The Challenge
Between now and December 1, 2020, we seek teams of data scientists, visualization experts, water tech engineers, cognitive specialists, artists, and others to take a fresh look at Consumer Confidence Reports and submit designs, websites or other material to show how existing reports could be reimagined.  We will select the best entries in early January 2021.

What You Can Do
Interested? Read more about the competition on the Guidelines tab, and fill out the intent to participate form on the Apply tab.

Share on social networks: Spread the word about the competition on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels using hashtags #WaterDataPrize, #RethinkCCR and #CommunicateWater.

Have some thoughts about CCRs and want to chat with us? Email us.