12A.4 Integrated Water Resources Science and Services – Key Activities and Status

Thursday, 26 January 2017: 11:15 AM
604 (Washington State Convention Center )
Robert Mason, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA; and E. Clark, C. Pathak, and L. Rodriguez

The Integrated Water Resources Science and Services (IWRSS) is a new business model for interagency collaboration consisting of a consortium of federal agencies with complementary missions in water science, observation, management and prediction. The overarching objective of IWRSS is to enable and demonstrate a broad, integrative national water resources information system to serve as a reliable and authoritative means for adaptive water-related planning, preparedness and response activities. The leaders of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) formalized the partnership in May 2011 by signing a Memorandum of Understanding for the Collaborative Science, Services and Tools to Support Integrated and Adaptive Water Resources Management.  FEMA joined IWRSS in 2015, and the four agencies renewed the MOU in 2016.

IWRSS partner agencies understand that enhanced alliances 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 efficiently deliver expanded and more integrated water resources services.  The agencies have critical interdependencies, each relying on information and services from the others to execute their missions.  As such, the agencies have stepped up inter-agency coordination and collaboration, and are initially focusing on the following key activities:

•  Improve system interoperability and data synchronization to expand and enable more timely communication of water information necessary to achieve a common operating picture;

•  Coordinate flood inundation mapping to show 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;

•  Improve water modeling to develop a joint operational water resources forecasting system to produce 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;

•  Enhance stakeholder interactions and communications to emphasize participatory processes which inform the design and development of new IWRSS capabilities and facilitate integrative and adaptive water resources management.

IWRSS accomplishments include the completion of tri-agency requirements and design documents for system interoperability and data synchronization focused on enhancing and streamlining information exchange between the IWRSS Consortium members. This includes not only nationally consistent data availability but also techniques to ensure that the data is fully described through adoption of new format, protocol, and metadata standards.

A second accomplishment includes the completion of tri-agency requirements and design documents for flood inundation mapping focused on producing, sharing and disseminating flood inundation maps.  The goal is to standardize flood-inundation mapping and to facilitate the widespread use of flood-inundation maps produced by the IWRSS partners and other Federal, State, and local agencies.

The IWRSS partners are now seeking to develop an IWRSS “model” registry to identify agency “National-level” applications of hydrologic and hydraulic models.  The model is expected to serve as a link to publically available information about the application including geospatial references, model type and function, and various input data.

To socialize objectives, and inform the design and development of IWRSS, NOAA in coordination with the USGS and the USACE, conducted seven 1-day in-basin stakeholder engagement forums across the country to validate existing and identify new gaps in water resource services. Attendees learned about hydrologic services envisioned to be provided by IWRSS, identified key gaps IWRSS might fill to inform water resources decision making, articulated socioeconomic benefits of addressing these gaps, and discussed possible demonstration projects for IWRSS to meet those gaps. The results from these stakeholder engagements will be discussed.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner