Submitted to: Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy (HELP)
Publication Type: Monograph
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/20/2011
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Abstract Only.
Technical Abstract: Watershed information systems that integrate data and analytical tools are critical enabling technologies to support Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) by converting data into information, and information into knowledge. Many factors bring people to the table to participate in an IWRM framework, such as extreme drought or flooding; or regulatory or legal pressures. Case studies illustrate how data and analyses are often the key to help build common understanding, clarify gaps in knowledge, guide monitoring approaches, and identify research areas to meet stakeholder needs. The Agricultural Research Service experience with the STEWARDS data system showed that compilation of metadata and documentation of watershed research methods created a useful template for other watersheds and that transparency on QA/QC procedures have increased the credibility of the data. The Willamette Basin Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load plan for Temperature was based on partnership with various regional stakeholders and is based on a information from numerous agencies. Differences in data format and resolution presented a challenge to comprehensive water quality mitigation planning. In the Upper San Pedro Partnership in Arizona, the wealth of data that has been collected in the watershed allowed Partnership members with diverse interests and goals to develop strategies for reducing the annual aquifer storage deficit. Indicator data on hydrologic trends led to proposed actions to address the groundwater deficit. Iowa’s Floodplain Assessment and Decision Support Tool allowed decision makers to move from inundation maps (created through hydraulic/hydrologic modeling) to watershed-based risk maps. For lands identified as having high damage potential from flooding, decision makers can consider options for reducing that risk. These case studies can provide insight to other IWRM efforts into benefits that may be realized when a coordinated, comprehensive effort is made in data information systems. Remaining challenges remain include privacy issues associated with private-sector data, resource constraints to prepare legacy data, and displaying data in ways that effectively communicate risks and uncertainties associated with alternative strategies.