Hurricane Harvey levied historic destruction in the greater Houston area. While photographs of huge sections of the city submerged tell the story of the storm’s impact, there is also a story told in the monitoring data generated during the event. Looking at data produced by the gage monitoring network provides context for the magnitude of storm impacts and reveals real issues that limit understanding of these kinds of floods.
If you’re reading this, you have some interest in data. Welcome to my world! Though long seen as a geeky subject, data is becoming more embedded in all our worlds, and facility with it is a skill more and more people are expected to have. Whether you personally provide data to others or consume it or both, please read on; I hope you pick up a useful tidbit or two.
Samantha Fox, Water Sage’s Database Developer, discusses her rambling course to becoming a water data expert and how Water Sage is forging new paths to helping understand water and water rights.
Texas is facing many of the same challenges as California: drought, population growth, and groundwater depletion. California is in a state of crisis. And there is one aspect of California’s water administration that Texas shares: a patchwork approach to management. How can Texas avoid the same fate?
Rain barrels are in the news again in Colorado, the only state in the US where collection of rainwater is illegal. Many react with a question: why is rainwater capture, a strategy that seems aligned with a water conservation ethic, still illegal in a dry state that needs to conserve water? Others answer just as strongly that the longstanding and tightly managed “prior appropriation” system of Western water rights must be protected. What are some of the finer points overlooked in this debate?
House Bill 1221, recently signed into Texas law, requires sellers of residential real estate to disclose whether any part of a property is in a groundwater conservation district (GCD) or subsidence district. The law affects all transfers taking place January 1, 2016 or later. By not investigating this for yourself, you could be in for an unwelcome surprise after you close on a property.
Groundwater conservation, starting with local measurement and involvement, is a crucial piece of the water puzzle in Texas. The number of water users is growing fast, and they’re all drawing out of the same shared savings account. It pays to be informed because increased awareness and engagement can lead to potential solutions. And as the saying goes: If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.
Wrangling the data sets that you can so efficiently access in Water Sage is a full time endeavor for a whole team of people. From cleansing data to understanding legalities to creating intuitive visuals, our team brings order and ease to the world of water rights research. Read this first in a series of technical blog posts to gain some insight into our approach to all things data.