Q: What is the purpose of the California Water Data Consortium?
A: Catalyzed by five years of historic drought, the California Legislature recognized that the State must integrate existing water and ecological data into an authoritative, open-access platform to help water managers operate California’s water systems more effectively and help water users make more informed decisions. Assembly Bill 1755 (AB 1755), the Open and Transparent Water Data Act, passed in 2016 and acknowledges the tremendous potential of California’s water data to support a resilient water future for all Californians.
To achieve the AB 1755 vision, implementing State agencies recognized the importance of broad collaboration inside and outside of government. To help realize this goal, the agencies supported the creation of the California Water Data Consortium, a non-profit organization with active State participation. The Consortium’s Board and Steering Committee include state agency representatives, local water agencies, agriculture, NGOs, and others with expertise on water data.
The Water Data Consortium serves as a neutral space that facilitates collaboration and sustained engagement across public, private, and nonprofit sectors to improve the data lifecycle and increase access to high quality, comprehensive and interoperable data to inform water decision-making.
Q: How does the work of the Consortium align with the implementation of the Open and Transparent Water Data Act (AB 1755, Dodd)?
A: The Consortium’s Steering Committee includes a majority of seats for state agency representatives and works directly with the Partner Agency Team (see figure below) – composed of the California Department of Water Resources, State Water Resources Control Board, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Water Quality Monitoring Council, Delta Stewardship Council, California Natural Resources Agency, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and Government Operations – to coordinate between the PAT and the Consortium.
Q: Is the Consortium funded by the State of California?
A: No. The California Water Data Consortium is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Articles of incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State on July 15, 2019. The Consortium does not have taxing authority, nor is it a regulatory body. It is funded through voluntary monetary and in-kind contributions by organizations and individuals who see the value in coordinating data collection efforts and streamlining reporting requirements.
To date, we have received in-kind contributions from state agencies in the form of facilitation services, administrative assistance and communication support. We have also received financial contributions from the Water Foundation, irrigation districts and agricultural water districts in Kern County, Moulton Niguel Water District and Metropolitan Water District, who recognize the potential benefits of streamlined reporting and better statewide water resource planning. Donate to the Consortium here.
Q: Is there a cost for Consortium membership?
A: No. There is no membership fee to participate. All interested stakeholders are welcome to participate according to their availability and interest; voluntary, in-kind contributions of time and talents are greatly appreciated.
Q: How is the Consortium different from other water data organizations like the Internet of Water and the California Data Collaborative?
A: The Water Data Consortium serves as a neutral space that facilitates collaboration and sustained engagement across public, private, and nonprofit sectors to improve the data lifecycle and increase access to high quality, comprehensive and interoperable data to inform water decision-making. The Consortium has a statewide cross-sector focus.This commitment to ongoing engagement between state agency representatives with other sectors is reflected in the Consortium’s governance structure, participation in the Work Groups, and membership on the Steering Committee.
Q: How do I get involved with the Consortium?
A: The Consortium provides multiple venues for ongoing engagement through its Steering Committee, Working groups and public events. Learn more about upcoming events or other ways to engage with the Consortium by signing up for our list serve or checking out our calendar of events.
Q: Where can I learn more about the Consortium and the Open and Transparent Water Data Act?
- Open and Transparent Water Data Act – Implementation Journal
- California Department of Water Resources: AB 1755 Open and Transparent Water Data Act
- Water Foundation/Redstone Strategy Group: Governance and Funding for Open and Transparent Water Data – Implementing AB1755
- Water Data Advisory Council Recommendations
- Letter of Support from Secretaries Crowfoot and Blumenfeld