Innovate Celebrates World Water Day

This World Water Day, Innovate recognizes the importance of water in our health, livelihoods, and environments and the need to ensure clean, drinkable water for everyone. We reaffirm our dedication to supporting organizations and programs that seek to improve water quality across the US and world. Innovate is proud to work with organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to leverage geospatial solutions to help our partners understand and organize their mission-critical water data and facilitate better data-driven decision-making. Working together, we’ve created solutions that help programs manage their projects; detect, reduce, prevent, and eliminate sources of water pollution; and encourage other projects that seek to restore beaches, wetland, and other ecologies. Below are highlights of some of Innovate’s work with water quality projects and initiatives:

Chesapeake Healthy Watersheds Assessment (CHWA) Dashboard – EPA

The Chesapeake Bay Partnership (CBP), under the EPA, is responsible for environmental monitoring for the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed and promotes the improvement of watershed health in the area. Innovate developed the CHWA application, a visualization tool for CBP’s watershed GIS data. The application takes complex geospatial data and presents it in an interactive and user-friendly way. Users of CHWA can access information to support watershed conservation strategies and identify signals of change in healthy waters and watersheds. The app is used by CBP and other organizations to study and monitor the watershed catchments of the Chesapeake Bay.

Fresh Water and Marine Beach Sanitary Survey Application – EPA

The EPA works with states, territories, and tribal governments to protect and improve the nation’s water quality. The EPA Office of Water (OW) developed the Sanitary Surveys to help state and local beach programs identify sources of pollution in watersheds that are impacting beach water quality. State and local beach managers use the Sanitary Survey information to prioritize resources to improve beach water quality and develop models to predict beach water quality. The EPA OW, in conjunction with Innovate, developed an electronic entry form application based on the four Sanitary Surveys. This application is accessible via a mobile device using Esri’s Survey123 form and transmits the information to the ONE EPA Workplace GeoPlatform, which is then shared by different jurisdictions within the platform. The once paper survey is now an application that is accessible over multiple platforms—web browser, tablet, and mobile—allowing it to be viewed seamlessly on different devices. Users can complete and store forms offline which enables field data collection where connectivity is often unreliable. The data can be stored on the user’s device and then transmitted at a convenient time when the internet is accessible. Innovate’s application was featured on the National Institutes of Health Acquisition (NITAAC) Solution’s Showcase as a geospatial solution that impacts health and water quality.

San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund (SFBWQIF) – EPA

The SFBWQIF program helps protect and restore the San Francisco Bay wetlands, water quality, and green infrastructure development. Innovate created an interactive Esri story map and dashboard. The story map includes an overview of the program, interactive dashboard, project progress, and visualized results of completed projects visualized. The dashboard provided up-to-date information on funding and project progress and had a web-based, version-controlled data editing environment to ensure consistency across project data. The story map and dashboard also helps users learn and understand the environmental results of completed projects on water quality, wetland restoration, and green infrastructure.

PFAS Vulnerability Assessment – EPA Guam

EPA is developing a model to predict the vulnerability of drinking water systems to contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These are unregulated compounds that do not break down in the environment but pose a high potential risk to human health. Innovate collaborated on a regional-scale assessment of known detections of PFAS, other potential sources, and public water systems. A detailed case study was undertaken on the island of Guam, where 177 wells and 234 potential sources of PFAS were identified. The analysis calculated the vulnerability of each well based on its distance from ranked potential sources of contamination. This study is currently the gold standard across the agency and Innovate is helping to plan ways to apply this analysis at a larger scale with state partners to better understand and detect PFAS compounds.

California Central Basin Aquifer Visualization – EPA Region 9

Innovate worked closely with EPA Region 9 (which focuses on the Pacific Southwest region of the United States), United States Geological Survey (USGS), and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to create a 3D visualization of the aquifers and wells under the Central Basin, which services cities like Los Angeles. The long-term goal of the project is to better serve people who consume water from the local Central Basin by collecting data and expanding partnerships. We helped move the EPA and DTSC’s massive data holdings into a shared environment so both organizations can leverage the same information to make decisions. Once the data had been loaded, web scenes are created and shared with federated groups between DTSC and EPA. Based on the success of the 3D model, Innovate created a 2D model of the data to assesses underground water sources using well sampling to determine the hazard and prioritize water cleanup.

Curious how Innovate can leverage GIS data and technology to support your organization’s mission? For more information, please contact Stacy Roux at or (703) 922-9090 ext. 749.