One of the great things about hydrometric monitoring is the field work.
You have to install things, measure things and maintain things and there is something that needs doing just about everywhere, all of the time. Sometimes, the weather, or the working conditions, may be unpleasant but most stream hydrographers would agree that a bad day in the field is still better than a good day in the office.
The hydrometric monitoring community is geographically dispersed by necessity. The requirement to be in the field results in few occasions to form a group consensus or even to know exactly what everyone else is doing or how they are doing it.
When was the last time you sat down with anyone outside of your own agency to compare notes about what you are doing and how you are doing it?
- The last decade has seen tremendous change in the business of hydrometric monitoring.
- The technologies are becoming extremely sophisticated requiring highly specialized training.
- The technology is generally more reliable but the field work is becoming increasingly event-driven and responsive to current conditions.
- The workforce is becoming younger and generally better educated.
- More time is needed for training and re-certification in skills and abilities required for corporate due diligence as well as for individual competencies.
- End-users are becoming much more sophisticated in their understanding of the data production process and they are increasingly dependent on timely access to high quality data.
Are any of the statements above true?
If true, then managing for these factors is critical to the success of any monitoring program. If not true, then what is the current reality in the field?
- How can you plan for the future to ensure that you have the budget, capital assets, human resources and procedural controls to continue to be able to meet the needs of end-users of the data?
- What are the consequences of the pressures your monitoring program is faced with? How can you manage for these consequences with a budget based on assumptions that there is no change?
- How does your program compare to other hydrometric monitoring networks?
- Are there lessons to be learned from the experience of others?