Diving into Deep Water Data: Using Water Wazi and Water Data Repo for Investigative Stories

Finding and analyzing a disorganized mass of water-related data can unnerve the most resolute of investigative journalists and researchers. But fortunately for those interested in African-focused water-related issues, OpenUp and the Center for Collaborative Investigative Journalism (CCIJ) are offering a two-hour hands-on virtual workshop about how to use two consolidated water-related portals – Water Wazi and Water Data Repo – in their research and reporting.

Attendees will:

  • Learn how South African investigative journalist Steve Kretzmann found and analyzed water-related data to do impactful reporting on waste water in South Africa and its devastating effects on people’s health and livelihood.
  • Receive training on how to use OpenUp’s Water Wazi and CCIJ’s Water Data Repo portals.
  • Have real-time access to the developers while becoming familiar with the portals.

The session is free to anyone interested in these topics.  Africa- and water-focused investigative and data journalists, researchers, policymakers and educators are particularly encouraged to attend. 

Funded by Open Society Foundation – South Africa.


Tuesday, August 23, 2022
15:00-17:00 SAST / 9:00-11:00 AM US Eastern time


Virtual via Zoom



Presenters and Trainers

Carl Jacobs, Research and Data Leads, OpenUp

Carl Jacobs

Research and Data Leads, OpenUp

Carl Jacobs is a Research and Data Lead of OpenUp. He oversees all research related activities and ensures the data displays correctly on the tools that are built. He is responsible for the Data aspect of Wazimap.

Having worked in the Academia world, Carl has advocated for more pragmatic ways of moving between theory and practice by exploring avenues that speak more directly to the concerns, needs, and contexts of affected people.

He has previously worked as Senior Project Coordinator for the Hub for Education on ICT for Sustainability; Senior Project Manager for Gender-Just Digital Innovation in Africa and a Researcher with Information for Community Service.

JD Bothma, Head of Product and Technical Product Owner, OpenUp

JD Bothma

Head of Product and Technical Product Owner, OpenUp

JD Bothma is the Head of Product and a Technical Product Owner for OpenUp. He helps ensure OpenUp makes use of tech effectively when it can support our work, and avoid it when it would just complicate things. 

JD has a firm belief that the government belongs to the citizenry and should serve them. So he brings in experience and knowledge of how innovation and development can happen quickly and reliably in the tech industry to see the same efficiencies and improvements in communication and collaboration between state, civil society and the general public.

Sotiris Sideris, Data Editor, CCIJ

Sotiris Sideris

Data Editor, CCIJ

Sotiris Sideris is an award-winning data journalist and trainer based in Athens with extensive cross-border and collaborative experience. He is the data editor of the Center for Collaborative Investigative Journalism (CCIJ) and of the investigative network Reporters United. He also serves as a research associate at the University of Athens and as a lecturer of digital media at Macromedia University of Applied Sciences in Berlin.

In 2016 he co-founded AthensLive, Greece’s first nonprofit media outlet. Previously, he worked with the Greek NGO Network for Children’s Rights as the coordinator and chief editor of the multilingual refugee newspaper Migratory Birds and as a researcher and producer for the Greek national TV documentary series 28 Europe. His work has been published in numerous Greek and European publications, including Investigate Europe, Mediapart, and Tagesspiegel. In 2017 he was a Stavros Niarchos Foundation fellow at Columbia University, where he studied programming and data journalism. In 2019 he participated in the Bertha Challenge, a global fellowship program for investigative journalists and activists by Bertha Foundation. In 2022 Cities for Rent, a cross-border collaborative investigation he was part of, won the Innovation Award of the European Press Prize.

Steve Kretzmann

Freelance journalist

Steve Kretzmann is a freelance journalist with over 20 years experience. In 2006 he founded West Cape News, a print news agency that helped develop emerging journalists. He also runs The Critter, an online arts reviewing publication, and is editor of Mother City News, a monthly community newspaper in Cape Town.

Living in a semi-arid country, and in the context of global heating, he believes water availability and its ecological health is a fundamental marker of climate crisis resilience. With this in mind, he has been reporting on water quality for the past five years, and poring over publicly available, regularly updated data on the performance of all wastewater and water treatment works in South Africa for the last two years. When traveling, he spends time traipsing around wastewater treatment works to see if the data matches what’s on the ground, and what that looks like.

Yuxi Wang, Data Fellow, CCIJ

Yuxi Wang

Data Storyteller, OpenUp and Data Fellow, CCIJ

Yuxi Wang is a freelance writer, researcher, and data journalist at both OpenUp and CCIJ. Coming from China, Yuxi was fascinated by South Africa’s civic scene, especially tech for good. Meeting with passionate people who are taking daily actions for a better society is an empowering experience for Yuxi, which led her to more engagement in the cific society in China. Data journalism with a focus on social issues and marginzliaed comunities is Yuxi’s passion. Her work with OpenUp and CCIJ allows her to work on data storytelling on topics she truly cares about and gets her closer to her dream to become a woman in tech.