Open data about waste and water management


(this page is part of my Open Data, Open Society report. Please follow that link to reach the introduction and Table of Content, but don’t forget to check the notes to readers!)

Waste management

PSI (Public Sector Information) related to waste management consists of information on how much garbage is produced in each part of the city, how much of it is recycled, what are the costs for its management, what is the status of local landfills, or even simple data like garbage collection schedules for each neighborhood. In Vancouver, VanTrash helps citizens to find out their garbage schedule, download it in their digital calendars or receive reminders by email, using garbage pickup times used scraped from the official City website.

Water management

(this paragraph is a summary of an article published in December 2009 by the author, titled Should water be public or private? Australian, of course!)

There are a lot of talks and public discussions in Italy these days about the “privatization of water” that should be soon approved by the national Parliament. Some people denounce a theft of all water that should be forbidden, period, while others declare that such concerns are just scaremongering, if not plain scams. Meanwhile, in Australia, they just decided that lots of data related to water management must become automatically accessible online with open licenses, making possible for everybody to check through the Internet:

  • how much water comes out of each spring and how much arrives in every neighborhood, that is how much water is lost and where

  • when and where something breaks and how long it takes, on average, to fix it

  • how much citizens pay for every single service or other activity performed by the management company and why

  • etc…

therefore making much easier to discover which representatives should not be voted anymore because they delegated water management to organizations that (regardless of their nature) are obviously doing a bad job. Having those data would also be extremely useful in order to correlate them with other data: wouldn’t it be great, for example, before buying or renting a house, to know how many times water distribution was interrupted in that street, or if it receives less water than other areas?

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