The guidance provided in this document is designed to address a critical barrier to understanding and effectively managing surface and groundwater (SWGW) interactions in Texas: legacy data and legacy systems. Data held in legacy systems are difficult to find, access, and integrate with other data, and because of this, these data are rarely used in decision-making processes. Improving the findability and accessibility of legacy data is a foundational step in improving water management decisions about SWGW interactions in Texas. However, this same guidance can be applied to address challenges with legacy data and systems for a variety of other applications.
In 2018, water experts and stakeholders in Texas came together to take the first steps toward water data modernization at a workshop at the University of Texas in Austin. The goal of the workshop was to develop a vision for “an ideal water data system for Texas.” The system envisioned in that workshop was the jumping-off point for a collaborative project between the Internet of Water (IoW) and the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to develop the Texas Water Data Hub. This data hub will give data users easy access to many different types of standardized water data in one place. The hub will support real-time decision-making, enable the identification of opportunities to improve water security and provide decision-makers with a more complete picture of the water cycle in Texas.
As part of this project, the IoW has developed the following best practices and recommendations to support the development of the Texas Water Data Hub. While this document was developed for the Texas Water Data Hub it is broadly applicable and can be used to support the development of other hubs in the future.
The developing Texas Water Data Hub represents a first step in realizing the vision for “an ideal water data system for Texas” that allows those tackling water problems timely access to relevant data about water in Texas. The Internet of Water (IoW) shares a similar vision but is applied across the United States. As such, the collaborative project between the IoW and the TWDB lays the groundwork for the Texas Water Data Hub to interconnect with the broader internet of water, including the water data systems of federal agencies and neighboring states.
Currently, the Texas Water Data Hub provides an online location where metadata regarding many water datasets can be searched, directing users to where data of interest can be accessed. As part of this project, the IoW has developed the following implementation plan for the continued development of Texas Water Data Hub capabilities that will serve to make its data findable, accessible, and interoperable with data from other hubs within the internet of water. While this document was developed for the Texas Water Data Hub it is broadly applicable and can be used to support the development of other hubs in the future.
Only two states, New Mexico and California, have existing water data legislation: New Mexico’s 2019 Water Data Act and California’s 2016 Open and Transparent Water Data Act. Oregon’s legislature also passed funding packages in 2021 for its water agencies to design a new integrated water data portal. This policy brief compares processes, outcomes, and costs associated with the legislation and funding for water data initiatives in New Mexico, California, and Oregon.
This report details research conducted by the Water Policy Program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute into technology adoption at public agencies.