Wednesday, April 30, 2014

State of the Union: Water

Part of the United States Geological Survey's mission is to readily provide data to the public and professional users.  

And they do this in spades, with online maps, earthquake data, historical and real-time water and climate data.

Stream flow data is telemetried from thousands of gaging stations around the nation, giving a snapshot of water supply and stream flow, often on 15 - minute intervals.  Go ahead, take a look.  Is your state or local river flowing full ( blue or green) or are you in dry country (red and black)?

As the climate changes around us, the focus on these dots becomes more and more critical.  For many of those dots have been red or black for quite some time.  And they will not likely become flush with water any time soon, as the distribution and timing of precipitation continues to shift.

This means how and when we use water must change.  From my memories of growing up on the High Plains, water never seems to arrive at the right time, or in the right amounts.  I'm afraid that will become the norm more and more.  

Having access to data like the USGS provides is critical for the ongoing tracking of trends and technical and policy decisions.  But as importantly, having easy access to this data allows for a informed public, provided the public chooses to be curious.

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