Code Section Group

Water Code - WAT


  ( Heading of Division 6 amended by Stats. 1957, Ch. 1932. )

PART 4.9. The Open and Transparent Water Data Act [12400 - 12420]

  ( Part 4.9 added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 506, Sec. 1. )

CHAPTER 1. General Provisions [12400 - 12402]
  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 506, Sec. 1. )


This part shall be known, and may be cited, as the Open and Transparent Water Data Act.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 506, Sec. 1. (AB 1755) Effective January 1, 2017.)


The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) The recent drought reveals that California needs to integrate existing water and ecological data into an authoritative open-access platform to help water managers operate California’s water system more effectively and help water users make informed decisions based on water availability and allocation.

(b) State and federal leadership, increased awareness by business, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations through open and transparent access to data, and improved technology and availability of open-source platforms create a unique opportunity that California should seize upon to integrate and increase access to existing water data.

(c) California is working to increase access to water data collected by state agencies. The state board is piloting a project to make water quality datasets available online through an open data portal. The portal creates an opportunity to foster collaboration among state agencies, share and integrate existing datasets, improve state agency operations through data-driven decisionmaking, and improve transparency and accountability.

(d) State agencies should promote openness and interoperability of water data. Making information accessible, discoverable, and usable by the public can foster entrepreneurship, innovation, and scientific discovery.

(e) Water data and information technology tools and applications developed and gathered using state funds should be made publicly accessible. State delegation of data management to contractors should not result in the public losing access to its own information.

(f) The availability of open-source tools makes it easier to access and explore water and ecological data and could facilitate the creation of an online integrated water data platform without the need to create an expensive new centralized database.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 506, Sec. 1. (AB 1755) Effective January 1, 2017.)


Unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions govern the construction of this part:

(a) “Department” means the Department of Water Resources.

(b) “Metadata” means data that describes data.

(c) “Platform” means the statewide integrated water data platform described in Section 12415.

(d) “State board” means the State Water Resources Control Board.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 506, Sec. 1. (AB 1755) Effective January 1, 2017.)

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