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National Ground-Water Monitoring Network Under Development

Information about the quality and quantity of ground water resources is essential to those who manage and use these resources, including use as a drinking water supply.  Ground water monitoring is conducted by many agencies and groups around the country but there has been no national repository of data and no national standards for how these data should be collected and managed.  To meet the needs of the users and generators of the ground water monitoring data, the Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI) established a Subcommittee on Ground Water (SOGW) that was charged with developing the framework for a National Ground-Water Monitoring Network (NGWMN).

The NGWMN is a voluntary cooperative program that brings together data from locally operated ground water monitoring networks into a national structure that will facilitate ground water management decisions on a wider scale.  The Network will focus on principal national aquifers and include data from select wells of local agency monitoring programs.  The NGWMN can be used to assess baseline conditions and analyze national trends.  Besides providing a national perspective, the standards set by the Network can be used to enhance and improve local ground water monitoring efforts.

Pilots have been conducted in 5 areas of the country to test the viability of the concept and provide data to develop a portal to access NGWMN data.  The National Ground-Water Monitoring Network Data Portal will be the feature of the Network that allows users from anywhere to access data on wells in the Network.  The web based portal will be a virtual database provides users with comprehensive reports generated through direct links to the ground water monitoring data of the participating agencies.  The SOGW will build on the success of the pilots to enhance the data portal and work for commitments from interested groups to support the long term management and funding of the Network.   More information on the developing NGWMN is available in a fact sheet.

The Advisory Committee on Water Information is a federal advisory committee that advises the USGS on issues related to water data.  Membership includes many water related agencies and groups including ASDWA.  More information about the varied activities of ACWI can be found on their website.