Water Quality and Inequity StoryMap

This StoryMap provides a template for municipalities to communicate lead exposure risks in their area.

This ESRI StoryMap was created for the 2021 Water Data Prize.

You can experience the Water Quality and Inequity StoryMap at this link or below.

About the 2021 Water Data Prize

Municipalities and water utilities across the country are striving to remove toxic lead water pipes and need higher quality resources to identify where they are and communicate about how to address the issue. Each category in the Water Data Prize competition is shown in the below graphic. Each category covers a different challenge water managers face to expedite the removal of toxic lead pipes.

There are a billion bright ideas in public communications, design, and technology relevant to finding and removing lead, quickly and equitable.  Giant cultural and organization walls – and just plain old inertia – keep those ideas from reaching water managers. 

The Water Data Prize aims to break down those barriers and spur the development of innovative ideas to remove toxic lead pipes.

While some larger cities across the United States have successful programs to replace lead service lines, many other municipalities and water systems – especially smaller ones – have not even started to address this threat.

Some of these smaller municipalities and water systems may face steep challenges: They may lack specialized personnel, staff capacity, or financing expertise to figure out where their pipes are, how to get started, how to secure funding, and how to initiate a replacement program that is equitable for all residents. There are four primary challenges they encounter:

  1. I don’t know where the toxic lead pipes are
  2. I don’t know how to effectively display toxic lead pipe information
  3. I don’t know how to equitably replace toxic lead pipes
  4. I don’t know how to communicate with customers about how we are addressing this problem

My submission to the 2021 Water Data Prize is intended to provide a tool for the following categories:

  • Mapping: Easy-to-understand and interactive maps of of lead water pipes to make this information useful to the public
  • Equity: Criteria, decision-making tools or visualizations that support more equitable lead water pipe identification or replacement programs
  • Communications: Simple tools and visualizations that will successfully give water consumers useful, actionable information on lead violations, lead sampling results, lead service line replacement status updates, or health information on lead in drinking water

Additional information about how this StoryMap addresses the Water Data Prize categories can be found in the document below.

This StoryMap also adheres to the following criteria:

  • Health: this submission makes it easy for the average person to understand the data and information related to toxic lead water pipes.
  • Priorities: we use simple and bold graphics and maps to make the most important information stand out.
  • Degree of Accessibility: Our submission promotes accessibility, ADA compliance, and multiple languages.
  • Level of Engagement: StoryMaps incorporate design features that invite customers to learn more and engage with the data.
  • Innovation: Storymaps are an emerging technology and we use it in a novel way.
  • Wowza: We believe our StoryMap has that wow factor! StoryMaps are a fun and engaging way for a lay audience to understand data and science.
  • Ease of Implementation: StoryMaps can be created free of charge, though there are some limitations of use. Subscriptions and maintenance would amount to a couple hundred dollars or less a year for a municipality.

You can learn more about ESRI StoryMaps in general here.