Opening Reclamation Water Data Through a Multi Region Web Portal

Project ID: 1627
Principal Investigator: James Nagode
Research Topic: Water Resource Data Analysis
Funded Fiscal Years: 2016 and 2017
Keywords: None

Research Question

The goal of this project is to develop an operational Reclamation-wide system for sharing water-related data. The project builds upon previous research performed by Reclamation that resulted in the development of a prototype system for time-series data. This project will address the additional challenges of converting the system from a prototype to a fully operational water information system, including (1) developing standardized data formats and metadata across the regions, (2) working with Reclamation's corporate IT program to maintain the security and sustainability of the central database and portal, (3) developing user-friendly interfaces and web services for providing access to the data in the formats desired by the user community, and (4) considering for inclusion other types of water data, such as discrete measurements, spatial water data, and water profile data.

Within this context, we will examine questions related to evolving the system from prototype to operational system, such as how to incorporate the use of open source software, what datasets and data types are desired by partners and stakeholders, what applicable national and international standards public water data must meet, what agency data standard(s) should be developed and implemented, how to maintain security while meeting the needs for open data, and how to maintain and sustain the system beyond the length of the project.

Need and Benefit

Water data is central to the Bureau of Reclamation's core missions of delivering water and power. Time-series datasets that track river flows, reservoir operations, and power deliveries drive Reclamation's realtime operations and future planning. State, regional, and local partners use Reclamation's data to support water planning and forecasting efforts, and the educational community and general public have broad and varied interests in Reclamation's water data. While Reclamation shares much of its data via public websites, data users must be familiar with Reclamation's organizational structure to find some datasets, and many other datasets are not readily available or discoverable.

Reclamation's regionalized IT structure has led to the development of unique water databases for each of the agency's five regions. Some regions have developed websites and methods for sharing water data to external partners and the public, but the tools are not consistent across the Regions.There is no Reclamation-wide website for viewing and accessing Reclamation's water data. The available websites may provide only a limited subset of data types or post data in formats that are not open and interoperable, making the datasets difficult for partners to utilize. In addition, the existing data access tools often do not satisfy the need for open and machine-readable data that is becoming the new standard for Federal data. Many other Federal water management agencies already have databases and web services for providing access to their water data, setting a higher standard for data interactivity. Reclamation needs to develop means to deliver data up to those same standards/keep current with contemporary standards.

Providing access to Reclamation data via a Reclamation-wide data portal with interactive tools and web services for downloading data will improve efficiency for external partners, the public, and the educational community. For example, users would be able to obtain all reservoir data from a single database. Web services may also reduce costs for Reclamation through the development of a standard data-sharing framework. More efficient and timely access to water-related data will allow Reclamation, its partners, and other organizations to make more informed decisions related to water and power.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Independent Peer Review

The following documents were reviewed by qualified Bureau of Reclamation employees. The findings were determined to be achieved using valid means.

RWIS Video (final, PDF, 115KB)
By Jim Nagode
Research Product completed on May 01, 2017

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

RISE Factsheet (final, PDF, 618KB)
By Jim Nagode
Research Product completed on May 01, 2017

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Access RWIS (final, PDF, 295KB)
By James Nagode
Publication completed on March 15, 2017

This site access sheet shares the RWIS URL.

RWIS General Use (final, PDF, 571KB)
By James Nagode
Publication completed on June 14, 2017

This fact sheet summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

RWIS Use Case (final, PDF, 520KB)
By James Nagode
Publication completed on June 14, 2017

This fact sheet summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

RWIS Creating Tools (final, PDF, 982KB)
By James Nagode
Publication completed on June 14, 2017

This fact sheet summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

RWIS Using Data (final, PDF, 488KB)
By James Nagode
Publication completed on June 14, 2017

This fact sheet summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17