The Open Water Foundation (OWF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise that is working to provide an open source software platform to help organizations make better decisions about water. With increasing population, demand for water is increasing, resulting in negative impacts. In particular, water issues in the Western United States and other arid regions increasingly will influence decisions about the economy, environment, and society. There has been increased communication and collaboration among water interests and there is an opportunity to extend this spirit of collaboration to software development.
OWF was formed to apply an open source software business model to water resource software, so that organizations have well maintained tools to address important water problems. Every organization wants to base decisions on data and science yet it is cost prohibitive for any one organization to develop the needed software tools. Government funding and research has produced useful software, but with budget and staffing issues, we cannot rely on government agencies or short-term investment to develop and maintain software tools.
Instead, OWF is leading the effort to collaboratively develop, enhance, and maintain open source water resource software tools, to the benefit of government, universities, consultants, nonprofits, and the public. Our vision is of:
- Collaboration – OWF will work with anyone to solve water/technology issues
- Transparency – as a nonprofit using an open source business model, we are demonstrating that open access to data and technologies ultimately lead to a greater understanding of problems and sound decisions
- Neutrality – OWF provides a neutral space for collaboration, focusing on shared interests rather than competition
- Efficiency – with ongoing focus on water resource software solutions, OWF understands technology issues and can efficiently direct resources to projects
- Agility – by establishing relationships with a diverse network of organizations, we seek to respond as quickly as possible, and we use agile software development approaches
- Cost-effectiveness – by pooling the financial resources of our customers as applied to open source tools, we leverage solutions and benefit everyone
- Sustainability – OWF acts as a steward for open source water resources software for the long term. It is our mission.
- Innovation – OWF leads in open innovation for all of the above reasons and because it is our culture