Scoping for Water Quality Import Software for Filed and Lab Data

Project ID: 1742
Principal Investigator: William Bruninga
Research Topic: Water Quality
Funded Fiscal Years: 2017
Keywords: None

Research Question

Can a software package effectively allow for automated importation of historical Colorado River salinity data and water quality measurements into the Reclamation HDB?
Water quality sampling and monitoring efforts are conducted in the Colorado River Basin as required by the 1974 Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act, the 1948 Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and in support of the 1944 Treaty between the United States of America and Mexico. The goal of study is to research the cost and abilities of a custom developed application versus commercially available software for the importation of historical water quality and salinity data into HDB and serve as an interface for data entry and retrieval.
Numerous measured physical, chemical, and biological parameters are currently stored in multiple locations, including, paper reports and digital spreadsheets. In addition to supporting legislative and treaty requirements, Reclamation salinity measurements are combined with values collected by USGS tributary gaging stations in the natural flow planning model for projecting water quality values. The Resource Management Office (RMO) is seeking to convert its current method of storing water quality data to an official database of record. Evaluation of commercially available software will be compared against the cost of developing a custom software application.
The end result of this project would be an easy to use laptop software tool for field and lab staff to input data to HDB. The tool would provide quality control checks on data entry, and a separate interface that would allow data queries.

Need and Benefit

Need: Reclamation has the responsibility of enhancing and protecting the water quality of the Colorado River for the use of the American public. Existing monitoring efforts are not conducive for creating a comprehensive approach to manage the historical measurements. The current configuration also limits the ability to make data readily available for analysis.
Benefit: The ability to provide water quality sampling and monitoring data will increase access to this information by the public, improve future analysis with regard to modeling efforts, and lead to better and more informed decision making. New and historic water quality data will be incorporated into a database that will result in an increased data integrity, security, ease of use, ability to share data, and analysis. Storing the data in the database would provide for quicker and efficient data queries, provide for greater scalability of the system, and provide a data backup source.
Urgency: The current method of storing data on paper and digital spreadsheets is cumbersome for the amount of data that is continuously collected. It is not easy to maintain, query, or perform analysis on the data. This study also addresses questions about undertaking several of the efforts outlined in DOI's Open Water Data Initiative by promoting intelligent and consistent management of government information with an emphasis on making these resources accessible, discoverable, and usable by the American public.

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 4/4/17