Page images

The Duck River is the main source of water for public supply, industry, commerce, and agriculture in the basin. The members of the UDRDA are concerned that existing water supplies will not meet future water demands without an additional surface-water impoundment of the Duck River at Columbia. This study forecasts annual water demand for 5, 10, and 25 years on the basis of anticipated growth in the area. These projections, in conjunction with other flow-duration characteristics, demonstrated that the Duck River cannot meet future water-use requirements without additional storage. California. —As part of an ongoing effort to better manage the water resources in the Salinas River basin, the USGS is assisting representatives from the Monterey County Water Resources Agency (MCWRA) in quantifying existing water use and in estimating future water demands in the municipal, commercial, and industrial sectors of the Salinas River basin. The results are being linked to information acquired from studies and analyses of agricultural and other basin users that were conducted jointly by the Bureau of Reclamation and the MCWRA. Colorado.—In cooperation with the Denver Water Department (DWD), the USGS has analyzed weekly (1980–87) and hourly (1986–87) water-use data for 16 study sites in the city and county of Denver. Linear relations developed for estimating seasonal water use were based on lot size and billing type (flat rate versus block rate). Outdoor water use, the largest use of water, was significantly related to lot size. The data were used by the DWD to support a change from a flat rate to a metered billing system.

Wayne B. Solley has been in charge of the National Water-Use Program for the past 10 years

Coordinating Water Information for the Nation

ater resources information is W. by and shared among thousands of Federal, State, and local government agencies, Native American

tribes, private groups, and individuals. Federal agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Interior, and Transportation, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and other independent Federal agencies, use water resources information in the construction and operation of water projects, forecasts and emergency response, management of natural resources, environmental regulations and enforcement, interstate and international treaties and compacts, and research. Federal and non-Federal organizations use water information to manage natural resources, protect the environment, and develop and operate the Nation's infrastructure. The USGS leads the effort to encourage cooperation and to provide water-resources information that is responsive to the public need.

Water Information Coordination

he Water Information Coordination

Program (WICP), for which the USGS has lead responsibility, was established by guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (Memorandum No. M-92–01). WICP is designed to ensure that water information is available for effective decisionmaking at all levels of government and the private sector in order to manage natural resources and protect the environment.

WICP promotes active partnerships among all water resources information collectors and users to achieve more effective and economical natural-resource management and environmental protection. These partnerships also are needed to avoid duplications of effort and to make better use of available resources to meet water-information requirements.

Major accomplishments under the program in FY 1993 include: • Publication of a report titled “Ambient Water-Quality Monitoring in the United States" prepared by WICP's Intergovernmental Task Force on Monitoring Water Quality (see following article). • The Secretary of the Interior established a subcabinet-level steering committee, chaired by the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, to oversee the implementation of WICP.

For more information on NWUI, Contact:

Telephone (703) 648–5670 Internet wbsolley(a

WICP's goals are being accomplished by focusing on four major aspects of coordination: (1) review by Federal and non-Federal organizations of waterinformation collection and dissemination programs to evaluate their effectiveness and to identify needed changes; (2) development of plans and priorities that can adjust existing informationcollection activities to meet current and future needs more effectively and efficiently; (3) development and dissemination of consensus water-information standards and identification of comparable sampling and analytical methods, which will assist in integrating data and ensure consistency of those data; and (4) development and implementation of plans and procedures to improve the availability and usefulness of data and interpretive products.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

• Participation of the private sector in WICP through the Advisory Committee on Water Data for Public Use (ACWDPU), chaired by the Director of the USGS. At the ACWDPU meeting July 14 and 15, 1993, a new subcommittee—the National WaterQuality Assessment Advisory Council— was established, which includes representatives of ACWDPU member organizations and Federal agencies.

Nancy C. Lopez is Chief of the Office of Water Data Coordination and has had more than 25 years of experience as a hydrologist in both the Federal and the private sectors

Needed: Better WaterQuality Information

M. than $500 billion has been spent on water-pollution abatement since the 1970's, but the effectiveness of these investments in achieving the objectives of the Clean Water Act and other Federal and State legislation related to water quality is inadequately documented. Better water-quality information is needed to evaluate the effects of past or present water-pollution control efforts on the Nation's fresh surface-water, coastalwater, and ground-water resources and to effectively manage those efforts. Because of this need for better information, numerous groups have requested greater coordination, consistency, and collaboration among Federal, State, and local agencies engaged in water-quality monitoring activities. The Intergovernmental Task Force on Monitoring Water Quality (ITFM) is a partnership between Federal, State, interstate, and tribal agencies to improve water-quality monitoring nationwide. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the USGS began discussions in April 1991 to develop a strategy for solving a number of pervasive problems associated with water-quality monitoring activities. Subsequent discussions with representatives of other Federal and State organizations led to general agreement that a joint task force was needed to improve waterquality monitoring. The ITFM began work in January 1992. The ITFM is part of the implementation of a 1991 Office of Management

and Budget (OMB) directive to strengthen nationwide coordination of water information. The USGS has the lead responsibility for the Water Information Coordination Program, and other Federal agencies are active participants. The ITFM is chaired by an EPA representative; a USGS representative serves as vice chair, and the USGS provides administrative and management support. Members of the ITFM currently include 10 Federal and 10 State and interstate agency representatives. To date, over 90 additional Federal, State, and other governmental agency representatives have been involved in the deliberations of the ITFM and its task groups on institutional framework, environmental indicators, data-collection methods, data management and information sharing, and assessment and reporting. The ITFM's first report, “Ambient Water-Quality Monitoring in the United States: First Year Review, Evaluation, and Recommendations,” was released in 1993 in response to an OMB requirement to evaluate water-quality monitoring and recommend improvements. The report proposes implementing an overall strategic plan to improve water-quality monitoring by assessing status and trends in the United States. Many of the basic approaches recommended in the initial report, however, also would improve monitoring to meet four other recognized purposes: characterizing existing and emerging problems, designing and implementing water management and regulatory programs, evaluating program effectiveness, and responding to emergencies. The ITFM views water-quality monitoring as encompassing the full range of activities required to obtain, manage, store, interpret, present, share, and report water-quality information useful to decisionmakers and the public. Such monitoring is an integrated activity for evaluating the physical, chemical, and biological character of water in relation to human health, ecological conditions, and designated water uses. The ITFM report recommends that: • An integrated, voluntary, nationwide strategy for water-quality monitoring is needed to enhance the implementation of defensible water-quality programs and management decisions. A national intergovernmental committee will oversee implementation of the strategy.

• Changing water programs require changes in monitoring. Water management programs are changing to focus on multimedia, geographically based activities; biological and ecological information; and nonpoint source, wetlands, and sediment concerns. Water-monitoring programs must be responsive to these changing information needs.

An integrated, voluntary, nationwide strategy for water-quality monitoring is needed. . .

• Better integration of water-quality monitoring activities is now achievable because public and private organizations are more open to cooperation. Also, recent technological advances have created new opportunities to improve waterquality monitoring. • Monitoring investments will be more effective through integration of existing programs to sharpen monitoring objectives, improve data consistency, and facilitate more effective interpretation and reporting. • Everyone interested in monitoring should be invited to participate in developing and implementing the process, to help refine the recommendations, and to initiate the proposed changes needed to improve monitoring activities. • Training programs for personnel from participating agencies should be established to support implementation of the strategic plan.

Bernard A. Malo is the executive secretary of the ITFM and the recipient of several awards from the American Society for Testing and Materials for his standards development work with the Committee on Water

Improved Access to Water Information

he USGS, the Nation's largest earth

science agency, makes extensive use of computer technology to accomplish its mission. Data-base management is a large part of the computational workload of USGS water resources programs because hydrologic data are collected in all 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the Pacific Islands Trust Territory. Streamflow is measured at about 10,000 locations, water levels are measured in about 31,000 wells, water quality is sampled at over 11,000 locations, and water-use data are collected throughout the Nation. All of these data are stored in computerized data bases and in a new system called the National Water Information System-II.

National Water Information System-II

he National Water Information

System-II (NWIS-II) provides a single data system for storing and processing basic data in support of environmental assessments. NWIS-II also functions as an archive for all data used in completed studies and in published products of the USGS and as a depository for hydrologic and related environmental data. NWIS-II was developed in cooperation with other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NWIS-II has been developed as a distributed data-base management system on a network of workstations and file servers using a UNIX operating system and the INGRES relational data-base management system. The software and data are being distributed on file servers located in about 100 USGS offices

For more information on NWIS-II, Contact:

Telephone (703) 648–5659 Internet thyorke(a

throughout the country. Data and functional capabilities of the NWIS-II include: • An integrated data base of waterchemistry analyses, biological surveys, streamflow data, well and aquifer characteristics, water use, sediment surveys, and related location and land-use descriptions. Data structure also provides the capability to store information on the history of activities, participants, methods, and equipment used to collect, process, and analyze environmental data.

Data. . .include 3.4 million water-quality analyses, 780,000 station-years of streamflow data, and well and aquifer characteristics for more than 1 million sites.

• Data transferred from existing database systems of the USGS, which include 3.4 million water-quality analyses, 780,000 station-years of streamflow data, and well and aquifer characteristics for more than 1 million sites. • A graphics interface using multiple windows, which insures that the system is efficient and flexible for the user. • Flexible input and update capability, which includes support for keyboard entry, abbreviations, and mouse-driven selections from pick lists. • Extensive reference lists, which include location descriptions from the USGS Geographic Names Information System, 13,000 parameters that correspond to EPA's STORET parameter codes, and the National Ocean Data Center's (NODC) taxonomic file. The NODC file has more than 200,000 taxa, including many vertebrates, invertebrates, and algae. • Links to water-quality and taxonomy laboratories, by which the user can request analytical and identification services, container labels with bar codes can be created, and laboratories can transmit results to the user for storage on a file server in the office originating the request.

• A flexible data retrieval and report system, which supports both X-Window and character-based hardware for producing export files, ASCII reports, and publication-quality reports. NWIS-II was developed and is being released as two components. The first component, released in 1993, consists of subsystems for inputting, updating, processing, and storing locational, waterquality, ground-water, and biological data. The second release, scheduled for early in 1994, includes subsystems for processing streamflow, sedimenttransport, and water-use data, including the capability to process data by using a geographic information system (GIS) interface. Access to NWIS-II by other governmental agencies and the general public will continue to be granted through the USGS National Water Data Exchange office located in Reston, Va.

Thomas H. Yorke has managed water-resources monitoring and research activities for more than 10 years and for the past 3 years has been responsible for the operation and maintenance of USGS hydrologic data systems, including the development of NWIS-II

Distributed Information System-II

Distributed Spatial Data Library is

also being developed and implemented. This online library is a collection of spatial data, programs, and techniques, a portion of which is located at each Water Resources Division office. Data, documentation, computer programs, and other electronic documents are accessible to the public through any software that is compatible with the Wide-Area Information System (WAIS) communication protocol.

The Distributed Information System-II (DIS-II), an advanced minicomputer-based distributed information system that was implemented beginning in February 1991, provides a new generation of computer hardware and software and a migration to open-systems technology. The system can be procured and used with and can be connected to other DIS-system computers throughout the USGS and other bureaus of the Department of the Interior.

DIS-II workstations/servers are powerful desktop computers equipped with

high-resolution graphics monitors and software and peripheral devices that permit the most advanced tasks to be conducted at each individual workstation. Every USGS Water Resources Division office has its own system of workstations and supporting devices. Because these workstations are interconnected by Ethernet, a local-area network, information, equipment, and programs can be shared among all workstations in an office. The workstation/server approach has dramatically improved the computing response times for scientists and researchers from within and outside the USGS. Data-processing activities for the water resources program are coordinated with other USGS programs, other Department of the Interior bureaus, and other Federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, that have an interest in developing collections of spatial data for environmental analyses. Coordination is effected through participation in the Federal Geographic Data Committee, the Department of the Interior Geographic Data Committee, the USGS Geographic Data Committee, and the GIS Laboratory Steering Committee.

Gloria J. Stiltner has been involved with or directed the implementation of DIS-II since 1983

For more information on DIS-II, Contact:

Telephone (703) 648–5616 Internet stiltner(a

Workstation computers are connected to a wide-area telecommunications network known as the Distributed Information System-11. A wide-area Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) communications routing-based network connects all USGS Water Resources offices using the DIS-11. Thus, a user of any DIS-II system can connect to any other DIS-II system, move files, or gain access to remote data bases. The DIS-II communications network is based on high-performance TCP/IP routers running at speeds of from 56 kilobytes per second to 1.5 megabytes per second. Shared-data communication networks are cost effective and enable users at all sites to share data with universities, research centers, and private organizations.

A USGS hydrologist demonstrates one of the functions available to users on the DIS-II network at the National Computer Technology meeting held May 17–22, 1992, in Norfolk, Va.

« PreviousContinue »