Recently, I wrote a guest blog post for the Sunlight Foundation that tells the story of Nerds for Nature’s formation, and the work that some of us are participating in to tell the story of California’s water:
Open Government Goes on a Field Trip
While the New California Water Atlas is not officially a Nerds for Nature project at the moment, it is related in spirit and suggests a way of working that we can instill with the projects we take on. Whether water, air quality, or land-use, the opportunities for connecting with effected communities, collaborating with our civic institutions, and empowering/activating citizen participants are abound.
In the coming months, the New California Water Atlas will be working to advance the public’s understanding of our shared groundwater resources. It will be a full summer of talking to folks impacted by groundwater quality, meeting with state and local agencies, and working with a diversity of professionals to advance the way we communicate nuanced groundwater issues. Unlike neighboring states, California still does not regulate groundwater. With climate stresses mounting, this is a critical area to address.
In addition to our plans mentioned above, we are planning hack nights around mapping water, and telling stories with data. We want to invite the greater Nerds for Nature community to participate and help make these serious topics fun and bring the diverse talents found in Nerds for Nature gatherings to bear.
Severely low snowpack this year means that Californians will be increasingly relying on groundwater supplies. Strained water resources coupled with pending fracking legislation has placed groundwater at the center of environmental discussions. Using the approach to community and technology that we advocate lets be a constructive voice for California water and beyond.