Challenging water and technology experts to work together and create innovative solutions to today's global water problems
As we get closer to the Water Hackathon, we would like to share with you our policy on technology licensing. We believe in giving participants the most freedom possible in selecting a license, balanced with the freedom of others to use and adapt developed technologies according to their needs.  

In keeping with policy of our partners at Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK), we have decided to follow their requirements:

  1. Projects must be licensed under an OSI approved license. While you are free to choose any license, we recommend using one listed as “Licenses that are popular and widely used or with strong communities”.
  2. Projects must have their code posted on a publicly available code repository. GitHub and Google Code are popular choices.

Should you have any questions about our policy, please let us know in the comments below.

Water Problems in Nairobi

September 30, 2011

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When organizing a community forum in complex places like Kibera and Mathare it is important to know who to talk to. Good local connections are key. Having had a presence in the slums since more than a year, we got in touch with our contacts Simon Kokoyo from Mathare and Kepha Ngito from Kibera. Between them, these two community leaders have 30 years of experience working in Kibera and Mathare.  With the help of their networks, we were able to mobilize the right type of people, ranging from water vendors, water buyers, opinion leaders, NGO representatives, provincial administration and researchers, all involved in water sector. Through the World Bank, we were able to invite the Nairobi City Water and Sewage Company, which is the main water supplier in Nairobi.

These problems and other will be assessed for their “hackability” today at a roundtable discussion between hackers and water specialist at the World Bank in Nairobi.

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NASA has a long history of placing large amounts of data online for members of the public to use. Since NASA’s inception, the agency has publicly archived over 4TB of new Earth Science data each day. With each passing decade, advances in technology made images clearer, the information coming back from space richer, and the world smaller.

The Open Data project, which is part of the NASA Open Government Initiative, is intended to improve access to NASA data.

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To obtain a better understanding of possible ICT solutions in the water sector, we did an in-depth analysis of problems and community needs in two of the biggest slums in Nairobi. We organized two community forums, one in Kibera and one in Mathare, which are Kenya’s biggest and second biggest slum respectively. In each community members were given the opportunity to outline problems and potential solutions.

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We are very excited to announce that WaterHackathon events will be taking place in Bangalore, Kampala and Nairobi on October 22nd and 23rd, 2011. Registration has just been opened.

Developers, designers, water experts and concerned citizens from India, Uganda and Kenya: sign up to participate and tackle challenges relating to water and sanitation in your community.

Stay tuned for announcements of additional WaterHackathon locations in the coming days.

Register for WaterHackathon

Will you be at Stockholm World Water Week?  If so, the Water Cube ( is your shortcut to having your water problem hacked at Water Hackathon!  Water Cube uses the power of online video to capture the issues discussed and the people present at World Water Week in Stockholm.

Anyone can drop by and join in the conversation at the WaterCube. The dynamic, independent, constantly-changing team of WaterCube video reporters are drawn from some of the water sector’s most innovative organisations. [click to continue…]

In addition to the three WaterHackathon locations announced last week in Bangalore, Kampala and Nairobi, five new locations have just opened up for registration.

Lima, London and Washington D.C. will also be hosting sites for the global WaterHackathon on October 21st – 23rd, 2011 and a WaterHackathon will take place in  Tel Aviv on October 23rd – 25th, 2011.

Sign up now to contribute your technical skills and expertise to help address water and sanitation challenges around the world.

Register for WaterHackathon

To solve real, local problems, scientist are constantly creating innovative mathematical models to manage water in an effective way. But for the models to be effective themselves, they should be easy to use and be able to handle massive data sets.  However, this last step requires sophisticated software infrastructure which may take years to build.

HydroPlatform provides an alternative.  It is a free, open source software platform for water management models that all can use and modify.   Its main innovation is a user-interface that allows you to build the customized database structure required for any model.

And we are very excited to share that HydroPlatform is now available to early adopters in alpha release!

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Utility employees act as human sensors and use an IVR system to call in events from the field. By Ari Olmos

“Will I get water today?” In nearly every citiy in South Asia, families face this question every day.  Erratic water supply means there is often a disconnect between the timing of when water arrives and when people actually need it. This uncertainty comes at great opportunity costs: adults miss time for work, children miss school days.
NextDrop is trying to address this issue by acting as a facilitator of information between the water utilities and their customers.

According to the United Nations, contaminated water kills more people than all wars, crimes and terrorism combined.[1] But how can I help?  How about taking a stab at mapping the water quality near you and letting some scientist turn that information into something useful.

This is where IBM is hoping to tap into the same citizen mindset that has made reporting applications, such as SeeClickFix, so powerful. Citizen involvement can help solve the mapping through sheer volume.

Creek Watch is a free application for the iPhone that allows users to take pictures of local water resources and report on key water data.

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