Recognizing that water decision making is limited by the quality, availability, and usability of decision-relevant data, this initiative seeks to guide the expansion and improvement of California’s water information systems to meet stakeholders’ needs.
With California’s drought risk, flood risk, and demand for water all increasing, effective monitoring is more important than ever to water decision making. Stream gages monitor the most basic vital sign of California’s waterways—stream flow. Stream flow data support day-to-day decisions about how to manage water and operate water infrastructure—decisions that have important implications for flood control and the water supplies upon which residential, industrial, agricultural, and environmental water users depend.
A lack of data and information has limited our ability to understand, let alone better manage, all aspects of our water resources. This report supports California’s efforts to develop modern water data systems. It argues that simply providing more data is not enough, and that generating useful and useable information hinges on the development of data systems based on end users’ needs. The report describes lessons learned from a process of stakeholder engagement focused on defining and clarifying uses of water data, and how knowledge of these uses can inform the development of water data systems.
Also see our Op-Ed in The Sacramento Bee.