World Water Day Visualization Challenge

Making Sense of Water Issues Through Data and Design

Fifty percent of the world’s population live in cities that hold over 10 million people. A mass migration from rural to urban areas is underway globally. Of all the challenges that influence this transition, none is more fundamental than water. Yet many of the world’s metropolitan centers lack planning, infrastructure and the water resources needed to support the new tide of urban residents. As these urban hotspots continue to grow at rapid rates, they seem to be outgrowing their urban water system. There is also evidence that water resources will be significantly affected by climate change, both in quantity and quality, particularly through the impact of floods, droughts, or extreme events.

In collaboration with Circle of Blue, the leading news organization reporting on global water issues, we would like to challenge the design community to visualize the provided water data and provide informative, clear, and cutting-edge visualizations that draw the connections between all or some of the following: the rapid growth of cities, the effect of climate change and natural disasters, and the urban water system. With a better understanding of this data, water institutes and those on the ground can propose effective solutions to the urban water problem.

Background Information

For more information on urban water issues, visit Circle of Blue


Deadline for Submissions

  • March 15, 2011 11:59PM EST


  • Adam Bly, Seed
  • Brian Collins, Collins: Transformative Design
  • Heather Cooley, Water Program, Pacific Institute
  • J. Carl Ganter, Circle of Blue
  • Alon Halevy, Google Labs
  • Russell Kennedy, Icograda
  • Camille Kubie, GE
  • Jennifer Palilonis, Ball State University
  • Kimberly Ramalho, GE Water


  • The winner will receive $5,000 provided by GE. Two runner-ups will get $500 each.
  • The winner will be announced online on and featured in a Winner’s Q&A.;


  • Submission Deadline: March 15, 2011
  • Winner Announced: March 22, 2011 (World Water Day)


The winning visualization: What Is Your Water Footprint? by Joseph Bergeni, and Nickie Huang.

Read the recap to see the Honorable Mentions and see all of the entries.

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