Virtue Versus Temptation in Water Data Management

Tad Slawecki, Senior Engineer at Limnotech, provided a very interesting and entertaining ‘lightning talk’ at the Open Water Data Initiative session of the AWRA 2014 conference. Against a backdrop of increasing momentum toward ‘big data,’ which is often conceived as primarily ‘virtual’ data derived from distributed models, Tad argues that we need to restore our faith in ‘virtuous’ data.

Burglary crime - burglar opening a door

Uncertainty Is the Unlocked Back Door Used by Unwanted Surprises

I had the great pleasure of re-connecting with colleagues at the NASH symposia at the AWRA 2014 national conference. There were three well attended NASH sessions and a panel discussion that were all great starting points for conversations. One such conversation about discharge measurement uncertainty with Tim Cohn resulted in the statement that is the title of this post. We were discussing the reasons for study into the problem of quantification of discharge measurement uncertainty. Read More


The Weaponization of Water Data

Every change in the expected pattern of variability of water supply and quality poses a threat to the security of the water, food and energy we are dependent on for quality of life. Up until the very recent past conversations about the role of water data tended to be about development of, and management of, our water resources in a way that served environmental sustainability. Water data give us the means to identify the right balance between human and in-stream requirements and the evidence to ensure that such balance is respected. Read More


Shared Data, Complete with Discoverable Provenance, Have Unbounded Value

The extensive discussion triggered by my question about the value of an incremental investment in data quality led to the statement that is the title of this post. This conclusion can be re-stated as a mathematical solution for Potential Value: potential value = (data x quality) ^ sharing. Read More


Too Little, Too Much or in the Wrong Place

The opening plenary at the AWRA 2014 conference by Kathryn Sullivan explained the emerging role for Environmental Intelligence for handling the need to respond to the increasingly fickle nature of water availability and quality. Dr. Sullivan used several recent examples of unprecedented extreme events to make the point that the world’s attention is focused on the nexus of water security, food security and energy security. Read More

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