Advances in communications and data management technologies have allowed data providers to meet the latent demand for hydrometric data in support of adaptive management of our water resources.
Discharge is a derived variable for which considerable care is required to ensure reliable results. The hydrometric data production process has historically been managed on an annual production cycle to ensure that all information relevant to the final result has been obtained and reviewed. This meant that, as recently as a decade ago, without extraordinary measures (e.g. hiring an observer to read a gauge and phone in results), even preliminary water level data were generally unavailable until well after any given event had passed. Even if available, such preliminary data would carry a high uncertainty because, without lengthy review process, there was no systematic way to identify and control for the many sources of potential error that could affect the data quality.
Advanced Data Management Systems
Hydrometric data are now widely available, in near-real-time, on the internet. Advanced data management systems have the ability to identify and treat most errors automatically, ensuring that the best possible datais readily available and that any further modifications to the data are immediately propagated as soon as errors are discovered and corrected.
The differences and similarities between the annual and the continuous data production paradigms are considered with respect to understanding the implications of this change for both data producers and data consumers.
What changes are you seeing with hydrometric data analysis and production?