Arizona’s New Digital and Interactive Water Encyclopedia
By AMWUA Staff
We all understand the importance of water in Arizona, but the hydrology, legalities, and water management can be overwhelmingly complicated. So how do we get educated on all the issues and challenges while finding facts to offer us a real glimpse into Arizona’s water story? Well, ASU’s Kyl Center for Water Policy has created a great place to start.
Their new platform – the Arizona Water Blueprint, which is an interactive map of Arizona’s water resources and infrastructure, offers visual data and in-depth multimedia content on important water-related topics. The Water Blueprint is a tool to look at water holistically and breakdown its complexity. It can help elected officials make more informed policy decisions and will help all of us be better water stewards.
The goal for this enormous project was simple – create an encyclopedia of water in Arizona so more people can be part of the conversation. This platform is a place where everyone can go to find out what is going on with water in our State. The accessible information will be a benefit to water professionals, policy-makers, as well as any residents or business owners who are interested in water within their local neighborhood, municipality, or across Arizona.
Since the project’s inception over two years ago, Kyl Center staff have been engaging with an advisory committee comprised of local experts. In addition, they recruited over 250 additional professionals in water, land use, environmental and economic development to offer input and feedback through a series of design workshops. The result is something unique and is full of vital information on water across our State.
The Water Blueprint is comprised of three main sections:
Understanding how to use the mapping tools and understanding that the data is key to the success of this project, they created a quick start guide as well as video tutorials to ensure all users get the most out of their interactive sessions.
There are so many important water policy topics to be highlighted, which is why the story maps are a great way to tell essential water stories through the use of multimedia visuals combined with data and of course maps. In addition to Arizona’s Water Story, they take a more in-depth look into other topics such as rural water use and water augmentation concepts - issues commonly discussed as part of the Governor’s Water Council.
This section is where the magic happens using the ArcGIS map. There are 44 layers incorporated into the mapping, and all are organized in categories for more straightforward navigation and use, including hydrography, infrastructure, political and regulatory boundaries, augmentation concepts, and critical habitat. In addition to being able to select the categories and filters that most interest you, your specific data and findings can then be exported and printed for further review and study.
The accuracy of all the data on the platform is a priority, which is why the Kyl Center worked with federal and state agencies to obtain the correct data. Much of the data will be auto-updated by the source agencies, while other data will be kept current as part of a regular maintenance schedule.
Since launching the Arizona Water Blueprint last month to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of the Groundwater Management Act, the Kyl Center’s project has received high praise. The reality is that assembling all of this data in one spot and on one single platform has never been done, so work on the Blueprint will continue to progress, and enhancements will follow. They will collaborate with water professionals to make necessary adjustments based on the feedback they receive to ensure this interactive tool is refined.
In the end, the Arizona Water Blueprint is a tool for inclusivity so that anyone and everyone can learn more about water in Arizona. With discussion on water issues, regulations and shortages escalating, now is the perfect time for all of us to dig a little deeper into the topic by looking at the big picture with accurate data to back it up—after all, what better way to learn about this precious resource than through an interactive tool with cool maps.
For over 50 years, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe, and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more information, visit www.amwua.org.
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