policy principles

The California Data Collaborative is a neutral entity focused on providing unbiased technical analyses that support policy and water managers in achieving reliability The California Data Collaborative, however, does not take formal positions on water policy.

The policy principles below focus on data directly, and reflect lessons learned from this pilot for sound data management. These principles reflect our foundational commitment that data sharing should be streamlined both technically and legally, but ultimately the decision on how the raw data is shared is up to the discretion of each individual utility providing that data.

1.     Good data is extremely valuable for identifying opportunities for needed water infrastructure investments and future demand management programs, as well as helping to identify whether conservation and water use efficiency programs are effective.

a.     As focus on conservation and water efficiency continues to increase in California, state and local agencies should be encouraged to use and share data via the cloud-based data sharing platform to evaluate current actions, identify opportunities, and develop new strategies that bring greater water reliability to Californians while striking a balance between efficiency and local supply development.

b.     Actual water use data should be used to analyze water usage trends by customer class, geographic area, hydrologic features and other unique local characteristics; to identify opportunities for future demand management programs to address further conservation within the state; and to make conservation a water of life in California through effective demand management programs.


2.       Good data should be the basis upon which smart investments in both water use efficiency and supply development are made.

a.     Any future statewide conservation standard should be founded in the analysis of good data, and good data should inform local and statewide strategic demand management decisions. That data should include water use data from a varied group of water agencies, and be adaptive to and customizable for the unique needs of California’s diverse communities.

b.     This data should be used for conducting analytics to identify opportunities to refine demand management strategies and promote long-term sustainable solutions for natural resources management.


3.       There should be a statewide data sharing platform for participating agency data that uses standardized definitions for data variables, along with a standardized reporting format and streamlined reporting process.

a.     California’s water agencies should be encouraged to integrate customer-level water usage data in a single centralized, secure platform to create a source for data on water use that can be used in:

·       Conducting analytics to inform local and statewide strategic demand management decisions;

·       Developing more robust measurements of water usage behavior across California; and

·       Illustrating how water use efficiency can be achieved statewide.

b.     Any new data infrastructure developed for California should integrate the entire lifecycle of California’s water usage data, streamline the process water agencies currently undertake when reporting data to the State, and be able to adapt to whatever the future holds.

c.     Customer privacy should be retained above all else. Any proposed framework for sharing water use data should protect consumer privacy. Data should not be reported in a manner that could result in the identification of a customer.