Access to clean water is a critical challenge and opportunity for community-level collaboration. People rely on local water sources, but awareness of water quality and participation in water management is often limited. Lack of community engagement can increase risks of water catastrophes, such as those in Flint, Michigan, and Cape Town, South Africa. We investigated water quality practices in a watershed system serving c.100 000 people in the United States. We identified a range of entities including government and nonprofit citizen groups that gather water quality data. Many of these data are accessible in principle to citizens. However, the data are scattered and diverse; information infrastructures are primitive and not integrated. Water quality data and data practices are hidden in plain sight. Based on fieldwork, we consider sociotechnical courses of action, drawing on best practices in human-computer interaction and community informatics, data and environmental systems management.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Human-Computer Interaction