The New California Water Atlas

Making water understandable in California

What we are doing

We are building a next-generation version of the landmark California Water Atlas

  • Improving open data
  • Building community & sharing methods
  • Creating high-end, legible visualizations
  • Sharing open source code: Github
  • Adopting radically inclusive & equitable ways of working
  • Building a public work for Californians
  • Incorporating science and encouraging accuracy
  • Seeking peer-reviews
  • Including historical data
  • Healing damages of the past, non-violent communications
  • Working for the future
California Water Atlas book

The original California Water Atlas

The California Water Atlas, a book published in 1979, continues to inspire map-makers and water lovers alike. We are making a new version of this Atlas for our generation as a public work for Californians using dynamic maps, open data and lots of citizen involvement. Learn more

Why this project matters

"The New California Water Atlas could catalyze a shift in California water policy and governance that will make California water policy capable of supporting the state’s natural resources, human population and agricultural sector in perpetuity. That's why we're funding it."

Huey Johnson, President Resource Renewal Institute, former Secretary of Resource for the State of California (1978-1982), Advisory Group for the original California Water Atlas

"The NCWA is filling an essential need by making it easier for Californians to understand who uses how much water where. That's not happening now, and we see the results in lawsuits, collapsing ecosystems, and overspending on attempts to compensate for mismanagement. Support the NCWA and support our future."

David Zetland, Project Advisor

"How do we re-prioritize a water system designed by previous generations to meet the unique challenges of our time? The New California Water Atlas is the much needed conduit between government and citizens to aid in facilitating dialogue, transparency, and data sharing about future social, environmental, and economic priorities for our water in California."

Laci Videmsky, Project Director

Proposed maps and visualizations

There are currently

  • 2 released interactives
  • 3 projects in the works.
  • organizing Open Water Summit (more info shortly)

Click a link to share resources, ideas or get involved with any of these projects.


What we are making

The original California Water Atlas described the water system of California through many maps and infographics.

These are proposed interactive projects that are being created as a new Public Work for Californians.

As an open source and collaborative effort, there are plenty of maps to make. Please help. We need all kinds of expertise: programmers, designers, scientists, writers, documentary-makers and more.