Water Hackathon


The 2011 Water Hackathon was a first-of-its-kind gathering of software developers with the aim of increasing awareness of water sector challenges facing developing countries amongst technical communities in-country and globally.

What is a Hackathon?  A hack-a-thon event (also known as an apps challenge, hack day, hackfest, or codefest) is an intensive marathon competition of brainstorming and computer programming that draws together the talent and creativity of software developers and designers.

Full Report

Full Report (PDF)


  • Creation of a network of atypical partners engaged in finding solutions to water-related challenges.
  • Preparation of a list of challenges facing the water sector.
  • Development of new applications designed to address these challenges.
  • Adoption of new applications and codes in World Bank projects.


  • Identifying suitable problem definitions for a Hackathon will require active preparation and consultation.
  • It is important to reframe water problems so that the technology entry point is clear.
  • Facilitate communication between programmers and water experts over a longer period prior to the actual hackathon.
  • In-country staff can help identify the best outreach channels to attract participants.
  • Partnerships with a local tech partner is critical, as they are far better equipped to host a hackathon that is fun and open.
  • Each Water Hackathon organizer learned to embrace the unpredictability of the hackathon event model.
  • Ownership and sustainability of new prototypes can only be achieved when the software solution is demand-oriented.

Water Hackathon: Lessons Learned