Contest Terms & Conditions

In partnership with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the State of California is proud to present the 2016 California Water Data Challenge aiming to leverage information technology and available water information to support decisions around California water reliability and sustainability of resources. By entering the California Water Data Challenge (the “Contest”), you agree that your participation will be governed by, and you shall abide by, all of the following terms and conditions (the “Terms and Conditions”) outlined herein below:

Sponsor: State of California (Sponsor), State Water Resources Control Board

Entrant: Contest Participant/Entrant or Team and Team Representative (Entrant)

Submission of Entries: Product developed by the Entrant and presented to the Sponsor as part of the Contest (submission)

Eligibility, Timeline and Entry


The Contest is open to anyone (individual, team of individuals, corporations or agencies) who is at least 18 years of age (unless a non-leader member of a team of individuals) and agrees to the Terms and Conditions of the Contest, regardless of location, nationality, employment status, or any other factor.


Entries may be submitted either by individuals or by teams (teams should be identified as part of the registration process). Entrants may work on their Submission at any time prior to the close of the contest, and Submissions must be received by 5:00 pm Pacific Time on December 5, 2016. The closing ceremony, including judging and awards presentation, will take place on December 9, 2016.


Registration and participation is free. Entrants must register for this Contest using our registration form here.

Submission Details


Participants can submit their products using whatever option from the list below is most convenient and appropriate to their product type, but all entries should be accompanied by an email as described below and include the registration form linked above. Options for submitting entry products include:

  • Email for submission of small standalone files or links to websites / apps / etc.
  • A file sharing service (FTP site) for uploading larger files
  • GitHub for submitting open-source code and other file types

To submit your entry, send an email to with the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. The name and email address of any team members (if applicable)
  3. Project title
  4. A brief (1 or 2 paragraph) description of your entry, including a statement of which categories your entry is in (i.e., (1) Open Source or (2) Non-Open Source, and (1) Data Visualizations and Insights or (2) Decision Support, Data Sharing and Information Communication Tools).
  5. A list of the datasets you used (or would plan to use if your entry is a proof-of-concept entry). For example, the name of any datasets on the open data portal you used and/or the name and url of any other publicly available dataset(s) you used
  6. An attached PowerPoint file of no more than 5 slides that describes your entry
  7. Depending on your submission type, either:
    1. A link to your website / app / etc.
    2. An attached standalone document
    3. The name of any file(s) uploaded to the FTP site. The FTP site is at: (Username: OIMA_upload / Password: AqcmBp)
    4. A link to your GitHub repository


  • The Contest will accept any type of solution, including apps, websites, data visualizations or visualization tools, analyses contained in standalone documents, etc.
  • Submissions can be rough—anything from wireframes to functioning websites/apps work
  • Entrants must submit a brief (1 or 2 paragraph) description of their entry, as well as a PowerPoint of no more than five slides that describes their entry.
  • Entrants who wish to be considered for awards are required to make a brief (5 minutes or less) presentation at the closing event on December 9, 2016 (either in-person or remotely), and may present any material of their choosing in this presentation (PowerPoint slides, videos, demos, etc.). In the event that a large number of entries are received and it is not possible for all entrants to demonstrate their entries at the closing event, selected finalists from the Entrants will be invited to present at the closing event; these finalists will be announced by Noon on December 7, 2016.
  • Submissions will be accepted from teams or individuals.
  • Submissions should align with the themes identified in the challenge questions.
  • Submissions can make use of any publicly available data sources, and Entrants are strongly encouraged to make use of at least one open data dataset available from either the National Water Quality Data Portal or the California Open Data Portal (under the ‘Water’ category).
Content Restrictions


Each Entrant that submits a Submission must retain a copy of the submission must comply with the following Content Restrictions:

    1. The Submission must not contain material that violates or infringes another’s rights, including but not limited to privacy, publicity, copyright, trademark, patent, or intellectual property- or property- related rights; The Submission must not contain footage, images or artwork not created by entrant; The Submission must not contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene hateful, defamatory, slanderous or libelous, or constitutes advertising or solicitation; The Submission must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age. The Submission must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations in any jurisdiction where Submission is created.


  1. By entering, each Entrant represents and warrants that

    1. the Entrant’s Submission and all components thereof, including all ideas, creative elements and any other materials and information contained in the Submission are original with the Entrant,
    2. no person or entity has collaborated with Entrant in creating the Submission, provided any material or information for inclusion in the Submission, or has any ownership rights in and to the Submission or any component thereof (note: an Entrant that is a team warrants and represents that no person who is not a team member collaborated with the Entrant, provided any material or information, or has any ownership rights in and to the Submission)
    3. Entrant has the exclusive, unconditional right and authority to submit the Submission and to grant the rights set forth herein, and
    4. The Entrant Submission complies with these Contest terms and conditions in full. Submissions must not contain any material that Sponsors, in their sole discretion, deem inappropriate for public viewing and/or determine is contrary to its mission or reputation. Sponsors reserve the right in their individual discretion to disqualify and/or not accept any Submission that Sponsors determine does not or is likely not to comply with these guidelines, to make such changes to any Submission as are necessary to make it compliant, or to require the Entrant to do so.
  2. All Submissions in the open source category that have source code created or modified by the Entrant shall be published in a public repository on by the submission deadline on December 5, 2016, and include the MIT License for open source software:

    The MIT License (MIT)

    Copyright (c) [year] [fullname]

    Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the “Software”), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

    The above copyright notice and the following permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.


Intellectual Property Rights


  • Each Entrant retains title and full ownership in and to their Submission. Entrants expressly reserve all intellectual property rights not expressly granted under the Terms and Conditions contained herein.
  • By participating in the Contest, each Entrant hereby irrevocably grants to the Sponsor a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide license and right to reproduce, publicly perform, publicly display, and use the Submission to the extent necessary to administer the Contest, and to publicly perform and publicly display the Submission, including, without limitation, for advertising and promotional purposes relating to the Contest.
  • Entrants are encouraged to useopen source tools and software to support their entry. Fully open source entries will be judged as a separate category and will grant the highest level of awards.
  • Entrants participating in the open source category may only use tools and data which are open source and publicly available. All components of entries in this category must be freely available for anyone to acquire, reuse, and modify. All code-based solutions in this category must be made open source and public domain as a GitHub repository.
  • Entrants participating in the non-open source category can use proprietary tools and data, but the product submitted must be freely available for anyone to view. Entrants in this category will be granted an opportunity to demonstrate their entry at the closing ceremony, but may not be eligible to receive the highest award.
  • Each Entrant acknowledges that the Sponsor may have engaged and continue to engage in the development, production, acquisition and dissemination of materials that may be similar or identical to the Entrant’s Project or Submission. The Sponsor may use information about the Entrant’s Project or Submission in whole or in part, without any payment or other obligation whatsoever to the Entrant, if the Entrant’s Project or Submission (a) is not unique, novel, original, and concrete so as to be entitled to protection under applicable laws, (b) has been made public by anyone at the time of its Submission to the Sponsor or otherwise is in the public domain, (c) would be freely usable by a third person if it had not been accepted as a Submission, or (d) is similar or identical to, or contains significant elements encompassed in, an idea, concept or material that has been independently created by either the Sponsor or any third party. Acceptance by the Sponsor of a Submission is not an admission by the Sponsor of the novelty or originality of the Submission.


A panel of judges comprised of California employees and designees will review all Submissions to identify those that are complete and otherwise appear preliminarily to satisfy the entry requirements set forth herein. Submissions that appear preliminarily to be complete and to satisfy the entry requirements will be judged based on the judging criteria found at the contest website. A jury of judges comprised of State of California employees and designees and industry leaders selected by the State of California will score all Submissions that qualified, based on the Judging Criteria.

The judging criteria will include the following factors:

  • Technical competence and capabilities (50%): The solution addresses the primary goals of the Challenge. It is a product that can provide insightful analysis and show how to enhance/improve existing functions, share data across agencies, and/or more efficiently utilize existing data and applications. Additionally, the solution is easy to navigate and intuitive, and is inclusive of a range of audiences.
  • Use of data to provide effective outcomes (20%): The solution makes use of multiple datasets (including data in the California Open Data Portal and/or data from other publicly available sources), and displays that data in a way that is easy to understand, visually appealing, and will help drive understanding of current trends as well as development of recommendations. User-friendliness, usability, and accessibility of the solution will also be considered.
  • Creativity/Innovation (20%): The solution makes an impact and exceeds existing capabilities for analysis of data through its incorporation of creative design elements and innovative capabilities. The goal is clearly stated and unique, and there is a real-world potential to produce a breakthrough or a major change that would improve the state’s operations or lead to new insights. Sustainability of implementing the Innovation may also be considered.
  • Valuable information and insights regarding data (10%): The Entrant provides recommendations for additional data elements to be collected and/or identifies gaps in the data and utilizes multiple data sources and research to aid in setting future data collection policies.


A press release will be created to announce the Contest winner(s), and all entries will be publicized via the press release and profiled on the event website.

The decisions of the judges are final and no challenges will be entertained.

General Terms


All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. The Sponsor reserves the right at their sole discretion to disqualify any individual who violates these Terms and Conditions, tampers with the entry process and/or acts in any way that would, in any way, discredit or harm the reputation of the Sponsor, and/or to cancel, modify or suspend the Contest should the Entrant fraud or misconduct or other causes beyond the control of the Sponsor corrupt the administration, integrity, security or proper operation of the competition. Without limitation of the foregoing, the Sponsor reserves the right to terminate, modify or suspend the Contest due to any of the following reasons: act of God; unavoidable accident; epidemic; fire; blackout; act of public enemy; war, riot or civil commotion; enactment, rule, order or act of government or governmental instrumentality or tribunal; strike, lockout or other labor dispute; inclement weather; failure of technical facilities; failure of essential production, or technical personnel to appear or be available; or other cause beyond its control. The Sponsor is not responsible for lost, late, illegible, incomplete, damaged, mutilated, misdirected, mis-delivered, or delayed entries, or for technical or human errors or failures of any kind in connection with the Submission, transmission, processing or judging of entries, including without limitation any malfunctions or failures of computer hardware, computer software, networks or telephone equipment or any technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or any combination thereof.

Caution: Any attempt by an Entrant to deliberately damage any Web site or undermine the legitimate operation of the competition is a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, the Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such Entrant to the fullest extent of the law. The sponsor is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the competition, or in the announcement of any award.

These Terms and Conditions set forth the entire agreement and understanding between the Sponsor and Entrant concerning the subject matter hereof and merges and supersedes all prior discussions, agreements and understandings of any kind between them. Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, the Sponsor reserves the right, in their sole discretion, at any future time to terminate, modify or suspend the competition for any reason, in Sponsor’s sole discretion. All notices shall be in writing and shall be delivered to Entrant in accordance with instructions contained herein. Entrant shall be deemed an independent contractor and nothing contained herein shall constitute this arrangement to be employment, a joint venture, or a partnership. Sponsor’s failure to enforce any Terms of these Terms and Conditions shall not constitute a waiver of any provision contained herein. The titles of Sections of these Terms and Conditions are for convenience only and shall not be given any legal effect. The word “including” is used in these Terms and Conditions to mean “including but not limited to.” If any provision of these Terms and Conditions is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be contrary to law, the remaining provisions shall continue in full force and effect.



Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event will the Sponsor be liable to Entrant or any third party for any special, incidental or consequential damages, loss of revenues, lost profits, lost capital or overhead, whether based on breach of contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise, whether or not Sponsor has been advised of the possibility of damages.



These Terms and Conditions shall be governed by and interpreted under the laws of the State of California without regards to conflicts of law provisions. Entrant hereby agrees that any and all disputes, claims, causes of action or controversies arising out of or in connection with the Contest or these Terms and Conditions shall be resolved individually, and without resort to class action, by a state or federal court located in Sacramento, California. By entering, each Entrant irrevocably waives any right to seek and/or obtain rescission and/or equitable and/or injunctive relief.