92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 1:45 PM
Integrated Water Resources Science and Services (IWRSS): A New Partnership to Enhance Water Resources Services
Room 350/351 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Thomas Graziano, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and D. Cline, G. Carter, and M. G. Mullusky

Managers and decision-makers in all sectors of water resources require more integrated information and services to adapt to the uncertainty associated with increasing stresses due to climate and land use change, economic development, population growth, an aging water infrastructure, and competing demands for limited resources. Water has always been a critical component in the success of any economic endeavor, and is the lifeblood of our planet. Water also presents challenges: too much, too little, or poor quality can spell disaster. In the United States, floods cause approximately 90 deaths and economic losses of approximately $8 billion per year. The economic impacts of drought are estimated to be $6-$8 billion annually. As such, there is an increased need for improved information to support high-impact events, routine high-value decisions, and improved long range planning to build community resilience.

To meet the demand for enhanced water resources information, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS,) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have recently formed a new partnership called the Integrated Water Resources Science and Services (IWRSS). IWRSS is an innovative partnership of federal agencies with complementary operational missions in water science, observation, prediction and management, which will serve as a new business model for interagency collaboration. This new business model will facilitate expanded and routine sharing of technology, science, models, information, and best practices to more effectively leverage each agency's investment in water resources services. IWRSS applies a cross-cutting, multi-disciplinary, systems approach to addressing complex water problems collaboratively. Other agencies will be added to IWRSS as the partnership evolves.

Through IWRSS, partner agencies will implement a broad and integrative system to serve as a reliable and authoritative basis for next-generation adaptive water-related planning, preparedness and response activities. IWRSS will enhance the integration of services at the national, regional and local levels. Toward this end, the overarching service-related goals of the IWRSS consortium are: 1) Provide new “Summit-to-Sea” high-resolution analyses and forecasts of water resource variables and quantify forecast uncertainty to help decision makers manage the increasingly limited fresh water supply and better mitigate the impacts of floods and droughts; 2) Link high-resolution analyses and forecasts of water resources variables with water budget analyses produced under the auspices of the USGS' Water Census activities to provide a more comprehensive view of the nation's water budget; 3) Extend river and flood forecasting to provide maps showing the forecasted spatial extent and depth of flooding to enable emergency managers and other decision makers to pre-position people and resources, to more effectively mitigate the impacts of floods and build more resilient communities; 4) Implement inter-agency system interoperability and data synchronization to expand and enable more timely communication of water information necessary to achieve a common operating picture; 5) Integrate and streamline access to Federal water resources information within IWRSS, to provide one-stop shopping for stakeholders across many sectors including floodplain management, emergency management, agriculture, climate, weather, water supply, transportation, energy, ecosystems, water quality and human health; and 6) Enhance stakeholder interactions and communications to emphasize participatory processes which facilitate integrative and adaptive water resources management.

IWRSS will help coordinate and leverage core partner expertise and research and development portfolio investments to improve water resource forecasts, understand how water moves across the land and rivers, and facilitate creative and informed decisions. This endeavor has technical, scientific and human dimensions, and all three must be integrated to achieve our objectives. IWRSS partner agencies understand that enhanced partnerships are necessary to accelerate the transition of research to operations to support water forecasting, improve the coordination and synchronization of information, capabilities, and resources, and deliver expanded and more integrated water resources services. The IWRSS plan can be found at: http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/~cline/IWRSS/IWRSS_ROADMAP_v1.0.pdf

Supplementary URL: