Building a Modern Water Data System for California
Thousands of decisions are made daily regarding California water management, each of them dependent on robust data and accessible information. California's 2016 Open and Transparent Water Data Act (AB 1755) provides an important opportunity to improve the quality of these decisions, tasking the Department of Water Resources with the development and implementation of a modern water information system.
While AB 1755 provides an opening for improved data systems, the law itself does not ensure that the data will be useful or useable. Our latest multi-institution collaboration,
Data for Water Decision Making
, argues that data systems must not only be open and transparent, but must also be presented in a way that is relevant to the needs of decision makers. Through a series of workshops in 2017, we engaged a range of data users and data providers to systematically analyze data needs for decision making.
We and our partners developed "use cases" that analyze how decision-makers use (or could use) data, covering a range of topics from water supply to water quality to long-term infrastructure investments (see figure below). Analyzing these use cases yielded key recommendations for effective implementation of AB 1755.
The emergent conclusions from our report can help steer state agencies and inform stakeholders as California solidifies its vision and process for modernizing its water data. We hope that they will help keep the interests of decision makers front and center.
For more information, contact Mike Kiparsky, Director of the Wheeler Water Institute at CLEE