30+ attendees are here in Denver for this conference. Attendees from the Center for Research Libraries and the Greater Western Library Alliance are present. The Global Research Network was originally under an ARL umbrella, but is now affiliated with CRL.
Keynote -- Donald Worster, professor of U.S. History and Environmental Studies at the University of Kansas. Water and Empire in the American West, Past Present and Future. Worster reviewed the history of the US and the vast natural resources that laid the foundation for creating a free nation. Early on it was referred to as a potential empire, but ours would be good and decent, not based on evil and a lust for domination. Ours would be an empire of liberty. Bad empires conquer people; good empires conquer nature.
The original concept of an empire (eastern USA) was an infrastructure of canals. It was discovered that the western plains of the United States didn’t have enough water to meet the needs for all the needs for agriculture. In 1893, the Secretary of Interior John W. Noble predicted that irrigation will build a highly populated region west of the Mississippi. The task of overcoming water issues in the west was the big motivater in the growth of government power and activity. An early focus in the early 1900’s was diverting the water rich Colorado river to irrigate the Imperial Valley. Hoover Dam was the result of this effort. The federal government took on a project that was impossible for any private entity or state government to control the major rivers in the western US.
Willaim Smythe, The Conquest of Arid America (1899, 1905 reissue) called the conquest of the west as “colonial expansion at home”.
Our rivers are endangered. They have silt and pollutants causing huge environmental problems. Around 1978 we reached the end of the water conquest of the American West. There are no endless supplies. Should agriculture go on using 80-90% of this area’s water. Population in the urban areas of the west will continue to increase, and along with that will be an increased demand on the water supply.
The first principle of water policy should be sustainability (Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission--Water in the West: Challenge for the Next Century). The Commission concedes there are existing water rights. Persistent drought still challenges many areas in the American West. Nebrasks, northern Kansas, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, California, Arizona and Washington are particularly hard hit.
Summary of trends:
By the year 2078, much of the western water infrastructure will have fallen apart or been abandoned. In the short term, there are less dramatic changes.
We will be forced to improve efficient in water use radically.
Investing in environmental repair and restoration. It may involve taking water away from agriculture and dismantling dams.
Opening water policy to broader public participation.
Adopting a post-imperial mindset and values?? (He doesn’t know, but maybe.) It could be a real cultural shift.
Q & A:
Q: What is the future of water governance? A: Some groups advocate privatizing; other groups want public control. There is a fracturing in opinions today. History shows we will change water law dramatically. Nothing stays the same.
Q: We see a current demand for data upon which to make decisions. Do you see any movement for people wanting historic data? A: Yes, but the past is not a lot of help for guiding the future with the current water demands. We are facing a long-term investigation. Understanding how we made decisions is important, but we have to use current data and look forward.
Q: Privatization is happening; i.e, South America. Current US water suppliers (municipal) are trying to keep the cost low to consumers, which increases demand. A: Need to bring systems into reality of what we have to work with.
Session 1: Preservation of, and Access to, Water-Related Information
How libraries, archives, and other institutions have traditionally preserved documentation and evidence necessary for planning and allocation of water resources.
The National Water Information System
John Faundeen, Archivist, U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Speaker’s focus in on preservation of observational data. USGS founded in 1879 . Pioneered hydrologic techniques for gaging the discharge in rivers and streams and modeling the flow of complex ground-water systems. As of October 5, 2010, USGS has a new director and a new organizational structure.
National Water Information System
Real-time data typically are recorded at 15-60 minute intervals, stored onsite, and then transmitted to USGS offices every 1 to 4 hours, depending on the data relay technique used. Recording and transmission times may be more frequent during critical events. Data from real-time sites are relayed to USGS offices via satellite, telephone, and or radio telemetry. Daily Streamflow Conditions are the kinds of data reported as real-time data.
Site information: The site inventory system contains and provides access to inventory information about sites at stream reaches, wells, test holes, springs, tunnels, etc. You can filter down and select criteria on the website to clarify exactly what data you are extracting. They analyze for things like heavy metals also.
Surface water data are collected by field personnel or relayed through telephones of satellites to offices where it is stored. Time series data is gathered and used to calculate various kinds of statistics.
Ground water database consists of more that 850,000 records of well, springs, test holes, tunnels, drains, and other structures.
Water quality. USGS collects and analyzes chemical, physical, and biological properties of water, sediment and tissue samples from across the nation. Cooperate with EPA, and can find additional water quality information through EPA.
Summary. The National Water Information System http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis covers all states DC, and territories of the US. If you have a question about what you are interpreting, please contact for further explanation and information.
Q & A:
Q: With all the real time data, there must be a lot of archived data. How do you keep up with that? A: The National Archives has allocated $500 million to the effort to archive everything (all agencies). All of our records are now required to be preserved. The records not visible now are in paper. USGS is working to digitize older paper records.
California Water Data : current landscape and future
Linda Vida, Director/Head Librarian, Water Resources Center Archives, University of California, Berkeley
California Water Data on the Web.
California’s Water Library is on the Berkeley campus. It is a hybrid of a library with published materials and archive of archived materials. The mission is to collect unique historic and current information and data about the water in California in theWest.
The library has approx. 200,000 technical reports. They provide typical library services.
Calif. Colloquium on Water lecture series
Clearinghouse for Dam Removal information
-Dennis Underwood Colorado River Collection
-NEH--Origins of Western Water
-SF Water Supply Database
-Cache Creek Database
Using OCLC Content DM to harvest, preserve and catalog digital only documents harvested from Web Sites.
Working with state agencies to use ContentDM to create metadata for digital documents and builds specialized online collections.
Web Archiving Service (WAS) that was built by CLD-WRCA has created a CA Water agency WAS and currently working on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta WAS
Timeline for move to the UC Riverside campus from Berkeley. Library is moving. There is a public service outage from Oct. 15-April 25, 2011. The collection will be housed in the UCR Orbach Science Library. A collaborate agreement will be developed with CSUSN to develop a statewide network to share resources more broadly. They want to develop more digital resources.
California Water DRoP project. It is a Data Repository Project. Initial list of Tasks:
1--Evaluate existing CA water data sets/ 2. Create referencing system for existing data. 3. Communicate with government agencies re: their limitations.
Survey of the users specified data needs of the users. Watersheds and ground basins seem to be of biggest importance, and they want it online. They preferred very recent and current data over historical data.
Documenting Colorado water within and beyond its borders
Patricia J. Rettig, Head Archivist, Water Resources Archive, Colorado State University Libraries
The Colorado Water Resources Archives is the only entity saving water information from Colorado. They also have information on surrounding states and some items from international sources.
Working Session 2: Toward an Action Agenda
What actions can libraries and partner organizations take to better ensure the survival and integrity of the most appropriate resources? What new models, partnerships, and investment strategies will best address these challenges? Where do we focus our efforts?
Facilitator: James Simon
Bernard Reilly, President, Center for Research Libraries