ACWI Meeting Highlights Continuing USGS Data Efforts

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The Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI) held its Annual Meeting last week on January 17-18 at the USGS Headquarters in Reston, VA. Brandon Kernen of New Hampshire attended the meeting as ASDWA’s representative, along with ASDWA staff. USGS is the lead federal agency for ACWI which represents the interests of water-information users and professionals in advising the federal government on federal water-information programs and their effectiveness in meeting the Nation’s water-information needs.

During the first day of the meeting, the Subcommittee on Groundwater (SOGW) reported ion the continuing development of the National Ground Water Monitoring Network (NGWMN), a national network of wells offering water quantity and water quality data. The NGWMN contains over 6,000 sites with water level data and over 1,000 locations with water quality data, with new data providers being added every year. Funding is available to support new providers and to enhance the data shared by existing providers through an annual competition.  Data can be accessed through the NGWMN Data Portal. Attendees also heard from the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC ) and had an update on the Water Quality Portal.  Due to issues associated with the administration transition, the NWQMC’s biennial National Water Monitoring Conference is being moved from 2018 until 2019. Work on the Water Quality Portal, where USGS and EPA water quality data can be accessed, is focused on improving data summarization and analysis tools.

Also on the first day, ASDWA had a chance to highlight significant issues during the member organization “report out” time.  Brandon Kernen mentioned recent ASDWA work on SDWIS Prime and the Compliance Monitoring Data Portal, the joint AWWA/ASDWA project on bromide, and the letter to EPA and CDC on PFAS.

During the second day of the meeting, Tim Petty, the new Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the Department of the Interior provided his thanks to the group for their important work. In addition, representatives from the Subcommittee on Hydrology shared information about the new Bulletin 17C “Guidelines for Determining Flood Flow Frequency:  Techniques and Methods” and efforts to predict extreme weather events using hydrometeorological reports and flood models.

The Subcommittee on Spatial Water Data shared progress on the Open Water Data Initiative that includes three use cases for flooding, drought, and spill response (contaminant transport) with the purpose of sharing data to provide valuable water quality and quantity information for decision-makers. The goal of this effort is to develop the Network-Linked Data Index (NLDI), an open sourced system that can search and index spatial and river network-linked data to allow discovery of information, which is now only available through the Water Quality Portal, along with other USGS and EPA water data. This data will also include the National Hydrography Dataset Plus (NHDPlus) that is being released by each of the USGS regions as it is completed.

The Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) also provided an update about their continuing efforts to conduct meetings, share information, and provide input for a variety of interests, including the development of the California State Water Plan. Lastly, the meeting ended with a discussion about how to better communicate the need and value and help support funding for the great work that is USGS is doing to develop water datasets and systems.

For more information, visit the ACWI website at https://acwi.gov/.