Communicating the State of Indiana Water Resources
A research project funded by the Indiana Water Resources Research Center through the U.S. Geological Survey’s 104B annual base grants (section 104 of the Water Resources Research Act of 1984, as amended).
Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $20,444 Total Non-Federal Funds: $40,958
Water resources are sources of water that are of sufficient quality to meet human needs, when and where they are needed. Therefore, they reflect both water supply – the useable sources of surface and groundwater, as well as demand, where and when is water being extracted for what purpose. Sustainable use of water resources therefore requires the balanced allocation of renewable natural resources to people, farms and ecosystems. Although many Federal (e.g., USGS, NOAA, USCOE) and state agencies (IDNR, IDEM) have their own publicly-available databases of water quantity, individual users need to know where to look to piece together an overall summary of water availability for the entire state of Indiana. This project addressed this gap by developing a website to summarize the condition of Indiana Water Resources over the previous water year in terms of reservoir storage, groundwater storage, observed streamflow, water quality and water withdrawals, based on synthesis of publicly-available data from the USGS, IDNR, and IDEM. The State of Indiana Waters website is available at https://iwrrc.org/indiana-water/.
Figure 1. Interactive groundwater trends map of Indiana showing the rate of change of the mean water table and the heat map of significant groundwater withdrawals.
- Develop tools to extract water resource data for specific time periods (such as groundwater, river and reservoir water storage values at the end of the water year) from various state and national agencies including the NRCS, IDEM, IDNR, USGS, and the Corps of Engineers, and to integrate those disparate data types into a geodatabase for further analysis.
- Review and calculate water availability metrics that provide insight into the state of water resources and allow one to rank them statistically to put the current state of water resources into perspective using historical observations.
- Create maps of water storage and availability metrics and how conditions for the previous water year rank relative to the historical record.
- Develop informational materials that will be integrated into the web site to help explain the data and metrics being presented.
Major Conclusions & Significance
- Programs were developed that automatically retrieve data from the USGS online water database based on the most recently ended water year.
- The previous 30 years of data for Indiana groundwater levels and surface water flowrates are used. Several data quality checks are performed in order to ensure validity and uniformity within the dataset.
- The current state metrics (including maximum, minimum, and mean annual values) are calculated for each of the two (groundwater and surface water) datasets for sites that contain data for at least 24 years of the previous 30 years including the most recent water year.
- The long-term trends are also calculated for the two datasets for sites that contain at least 24 years of data over the previous 30 year period ending with the most recently completed water year.
What Does This Mean For Indiana?
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