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WATER: Water Atlas of the Eastern Region

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Tuesday, 19 July 2011
WATER: Water Atlas of the Eastern Region
Salon B (Asheville Renaissance)
Mark S. Brooks, NC State University, Raleigh, NC; and A. N. Frazier, A. P. Sims, R. P. Boyles, G. Springston, T. Fransen, and T. Littlepage

Drought and water supply are important social and economic concerns for many states in the Southeast. Reliable and timely monitoring of water resource data are critical for the operations and policy of individual states and localities. Most states, plus the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), monitor and archive water resource data for their region of interest. Data may include rainfall, streamflow, groundwater and reservoir observations from the USGS, TVA, and each state's own network of gages. While there is a wealth of such data online, no one database exists that provides a single point of access with all available and pertinent data for the TVA region.

The Tennessee Valley Water Partnership (TVWP) is developing the Water Atlas of the Eastern Region (WATER), based on the cooperative work started by the State Climate Office of NC and the NC Division of Water Resources. This database seamlessly integrates streamflow, rainfall, groundwater, reservoir and other datasets from available sources within the TVA region. The TVWP, established in 2004, is focused on improving regional cooperation in water resource management and providing a framework for coordination and information-sharing. The TVWP members include agencies and collaborators in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The WATER database and website provide users with seamless, fully integrated access to water resources datasets from a single regional portal. Data are easily accessible, downloaded, plotted and interrogated. WATER is built atop the CRONOS platform, already developed and used by the State Climate Office of NC.

There are many benefits to WATER. Having all available data in one standard format and point of access greatly facilitates the monitoring of conditions across states and river basins. Additionally, future application development, such as monitoring and decision-support tools, will be made easier and more efficient. Costs incurred by each of the partner states and agencies have been minimal because a foundation already existed.

The WATER project takes advantage of the NC State Climate Office's unique strength in environmental data management and product development. The State Climate Office of North Carolina is the primary source for NC weather and climate information and is involved in all aspects of climate research, education, and extension services. The State Climate Office is a public-service center, part of the UNC system, housed at North Carolina State University and was one of the first officially recognized state climate offices by the American Association of State Climatologists.

We present the need for and regional benefits of centralized data access and archival for drought and water resources monitoring by TVA member states.