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Advisory Committee on Water Information

Open Water Data Initiative Overview

Quantifying the availability, use, and risks to our national water resources is an effort of national importance for the present and the foreseeable future. Improving access to data and enabling open exchange of water information is foundational to identifying and understanding existing water resources issues and developing sustainable future solutions particularly in the face of climate change and unprecedented drought. To address this challenge, we are proposing a new Open Water Data Initiative that will integrate currently fragmented water information into a connected, national water data framework and leverage existing systems, infrastructure and tools to underpin innovation, modeling, data sharing, and solution development.

open water web graphic

The Open Water Data Initiative will seek to improve the Open Water Web. This diagram summarizes the components of the this web of open water data, processing, and cataloging services.

Use-Case 1: National Flood Interoperability Experiment (NFIE)

The National Flood Interoperability Experiment (NFIE) is a one-year collaboration, from September 2014 to August 2015, between the National Weather Service and its government partners, and the academic community and commercial partners, that is designed to demonstrate a transformational suite of science and services for the next generation of national flood hydrology and emergency response. Its intent is to better connect, in both directions, the flow of information among the federal, state and local entities responsible for measurement, forecasting and planning for floods, with the corresponding entities in the emergency response community. This experiment leverages new communications standards that simplify the exchange of water information among disparate producers and consumers, as well as integrating cutting edge hydrologic modeling and analysis techniques from the research community.

Use Case 2: Water Supply Decision Support System

Goal is to develop an integrated data retrieval tool to visualize historic and projected future water interactions in the lower Colorado River basin. Primary users are expected to be federal and state water management agencies (such as Bureau of Reclamation, Corps of Engineers, USDA-NRCS National Water and Climate Center, NWS Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, Western States Water Council). Purpose of the effort is to generate tools that facilitate water management decisions on Colorado River operations in ways not possible with with currently-available tools.

Use Case 3: Spill response/Water Quality issues

Understanding the environmental and public health impacts associated with spills in near real time will help improve Agency’s and the public’s response to such unforeseen events.