Thursday, October 04, 2007

White House calls for National Water Census

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a study on the three national scientific and technical challenges to adequate fresh water supplies:
1. Measure and account for the Nation's water
2. Develop methods that will allow expansion of fresh water supplies while using existing supplies more efficiently
3. Develop and improve predictive water management tools

A major proposal is to develop a National Water Census. At last fall's GSA meeting, Gene Whitney of OSTP (the only geologist in the White House) gave a talk on the Census, describing it this way: "Such a census would require us to develop and adopt data collection, data communication, and data availability standards and protocols for all surface water, groundwater, and water quality measuring and monitoring systems nationwide. A census would integrate existing water monitoring networks to provide uniform water measurements nationwide, and would develop a strategy to establish regional and national priorities for the highest level needs for surface and groundwater monitoring in the U.S. Such a water census might also include implementation of the National Water Quality Monitoring System."

The full report, "A Strategy for Federal Science and Technology to Support Water Availability and Quality in the United States" is posted by the Office of Science and Technology Policy at

1 comment:

  1. I read the White House report on developing a water census. I am a pessimist at heart and when I began to read it I imagined some group hydrologists looking to expand their employment with some federal dollars. I know a lot of water information is already available through GIS and it simply takes of team of GIS technicians to compile the existing data but availability and reserves would be speculation. But then I read on… What I found was fascinating; the use of gravity measurements to discern possible changes in aquifers which brings this closer to home as far as Arizona is concerned. Also among the involved parties we find the Pima County, AZ Department of Transportation and Flood Control District in the mix rubbing elbows with the big league players like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Geodetic Survey and the National Science Foundation. At least I know AZ is serious about water monitoring and even using recycled water to recharge aquifers. I am now even more curious to know how this new found information is going to be used. What might these strategies to responsible use of the nation’s water mean to someone in Arizona as opposed to someone in Michigan?