Photo: Zen Water by darkpatator

For Australia water (or the lack of it) is a big deal. So big in fact, that the Commonwealth Government saw the need to establish a national initiative for monitoring and publishing water data. Charging the Bureau of Meteorology with the task, their Improving Water Information Program will aggregate hundreds of other government departments’ and agencies’ information into the National Water Account, an integrated, national water monitoring and data collection service. And the Bureau are encouraging their partners to release their data under Creative Commons.

The Water Act 2007… [and it’s associated Regulations] requires the Bureau to collect and disseminate water information to the public in easily accessed ways. The Bureau’s policy is to make this information available for everyone’s benefit so that it can be widely reused. To ensure wide reuse of water information — and that the data suppliers copyright is protected — the Bureau of Meteorology recommends that data suppliers use the Creative Commons Attribution Australia 2.5 Licence (the ‘Creative Commons Licence’) to cover all data that they provide under the Water Regulations 2008.

The Creative Commons Licence gives the community permission in advance for using water information, without having to contact the supplier directly. The Creative Commons Licence allows anyone to use the water information in a manner convenient to them, provided that they acknowledge the original data supplier…”

It will be the biggest single licensing of government data here in Australia since the Bureau of Statistics adopted a site-wide CC Attribution licence last year. [Jess – after all, as we all know, weather is more popular than sex on the internet]

Better yet, the Australian Water Resources Information System (AWRIS) which is being developed as part of the Water Program will make the process of releasing and marking data under the recommended CC licence an automated process.

And if the CC love doesn’t end there, the Water Program also endorses the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Resources Management‘s Government Information Licensing Framework (GILF) for Water – Recommended Practice standard which recommends CC as an information management tool in the publishing of water data. The Recommended Practice is itself under a CC Attribution licence.