The Utah Division of Water Resources (DWRe) publicly released draft water use data tied to its quality control processes in accordance with the Utah Records Committee’s order.
The committee ordered that draft quality controlled water use data held in a separate DWRe database be released to the requesting organization, Utah Rivers Council. The division is releasing the draft water use data, not only to the organization, but making it available to the public at: https://water.utah.gov/QCDATA2015.html.
In addition to the draft water use data improved by quality control efforts, DWRe included a summary document to help interested stakeholders better understand water use data and the division’s quality control processes.
Of the 475 community water systems that reported water use to the Division of Water Rights (DWRi), 269 needed improvement through the DWRe’s quality control efforts: identification of issues, clarification from communities and changes to the original submission. The Divisions of Water Rights and Water Resources are currently modifying quality control processes in order to avoid the need to have separate databases.
Starting with the 2016 data, which is collected this year, DWRe will identify and send potential water use submission issues to DWRi. DWRi will then be responsible for following up with community water systems to correct the errors within the original database. This is possible because of the added resources DWRi recently received through legislation to improve the quality of water data submissions. As a result, water resources will no longer have a separate quality controlled water use database.
“We respect the decision made by the Utah State Records Committee. We welcome anyone who wants take a look at the draft quality controlled water use data to do so. We look forward to updating our processes, receiving feedback from the upcoming third-party analysis, and continuing in our mission to plan, conserve, protect and develop Utah’s water resources,” said Eric Millis, DWRe director.
The key summaries of the submission documents include:
- DWRe has not, does not, and will not make changes to water use data for any other reason than correcting provider submission inaccuracies. These changes are made with the participation and consent of the water provider which originally submitted the data. Large water project planning processes undergo far more extensive analysis of needs and potential environmental impacts, often requiring NEPA processes.
- GIS maps are used to show that water use data quality control processes happen all across the state and not only in areas where future development is possible.
- There are six key categories in DWRe’s quality control process: Incorrect units, Categorical Corrections, Estimated Water Use, Missing Division of Water Rights Data, Service Population Difference, and Other. The summary document includes detailed descriptions of each category.
- DWRe also estimates most secondary use, because few Utah secondary systems are metered. Less estimations will be needed as more secondary water systems are metered in the future.
- DWRe has always intended to release water use data, but wanted to wait for a third-party analysis to clarify any issues with the data and quality control processes. An example of misrepresented data is included in the submitted document.