Globalwaters.org

Globalwaters is a portal for the water sector in USAID.  The site aims to be a go-to resource for USAID colleagues and platform to share our story and thought leadership in water and sanitation sector. Globalwaters.org joins the USAID family of sector-focused portals such as Agrilinks, Climatelinks, Landlinks and Microlinks.

Case Study

Problem: 

Before joining this project, it went through a variety of iterations and ultimately remained in limbo until we started work on it in 2015. The initial goal was to migrate the current data stored in a proprietary system into a new platform. The current site needed a major design overhaul and modernization. 

Solution: 

Immediately we aimed to migrate everything off of the proprietary system that the previous contractors built and move to an open source platform such as Drupal. We chose Drupal simply because of the flexibility and scalability out the box. 

The team we collaborated with consisted of communications specialists and other subject matter experts that would need a platform to easily upload and update content as the project would grow. Our first major task was training the internal team on how to utilize Drupal  and establish a solid content workflow. 

For the initial solution we utilized the power of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host the initial build of globalwaters.org. Services we used on AWS included Elastic Beanstalk, Relational Database Service, Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). 

Over time the requirements for the application started to grow and as a small team we decided to migrate to Pantheon which would allow for our team to focus on application development as opposed to maintaining an intricate cloud solution on AWS. 

This move allowed us to focus on building out features on the site such as an advanced search capability, microsites, dashboards with curated collections, modern design iterations and an API for researchers. 

In 2018 we led the migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. This migration required a complete rewrite of Globalwaters.org. The first major task was rewriting the theme which we started incorporating modern Javascript and CSS changes. The migration required us to rewrite all of our custom modules and allowed us to incorporate modern CI/CD practices. These practices helped automate our deployments minimizing delays and also allowed for us to implement automated testing. 

The application that we built over the years became crucial in the daily operations of the Water team at USAID and continues to provide value for that team and the Agency overall.