Open Water Project

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= " aims to develop and curate a set of low-cost, open-source tools enabling communities to collect, interpret, and share their water quality data".



1. Heather Craig:

"Over the last several months, Civic has been working on the Open Water Project, which aims to develop and curate a set of low-cost, open-source tools enabling communities to collect, interpret, and share their water quality data. Open Water is an initiative of Public Lab, a community that uses inexpensive DIY techniques to change how people see the world in environmental, social, and political terms (read more about Public Lab and the Open Water initiative here). The motivation behind Open Water derives partly from the fact that most water quality monitoring uses expensive, proprietary technology, limiting the accessibility of water quality data. Inexpensive, open-source approaches to water quality monitoring could enable groups ranging from watershed managers to homeowners to more easily collect and share water quality data.

As part of the Open Water Project, we’ve looked at other open-source water quality monitoring tools and initiatives (you can read more about those initiatives on this Public Lab research note, “What’s Going on In Water Monitoring”) and we’ve had meetups to talk about water quality and monitoring strategies (here’s a summary of an awesome water quality primer with Jeff Walker). We’ve also been working on development of the Riffle -- the “Remote, Independent, and Friendly Field Logger Electronics”. The Riffle is a low-cost, open-source hardware device that will measure some of the most common water quality parameters using a design that makes it possible for anyone to build, modify, and deploy water quality sensors in their own neighborhood. Specifically, the Riffle will measure conductivity, temperature, and depth, which can serve as indicators for potential pollutants. Eventually the Riffle will be able to fit in a plastic water bottle." (

2. Rebecca Schroeder:

"In addition to testing water quality, other open source efforts are underway to cheaply and easily monitor water quality. Public Lab is pioneering one such project, called Open Water, which aims to assess industrial pollution, coliform bacteria, road salt, and agricultural runoff in waterways. The project includes developing open source water quality sensors for deployment and an open water quality data platform for communities using the devices to share water quality data.

A pilot project is being carried out in the Mystic River watershed in Massachusetts, where sensors are being developed for less than $100 and tested. The sensors (called Riffles) monitor temperature, conductivity, and water depth, three parameters which are indicative of water quality issues and can help locate sources of pollution." (