The University of Texas at Austin

Online Water Data System Details World’s Water Resources

People from around the world can upload information about everything from lake levels to rainfall on a new water data collection site developed by a professor in the Cockrell School.

Photo of a dam

The site is the first-ever online network of its kind and will provide a clearer picture of the world’s water resources – a need that's been underscored in the past couple years as severe drought has ravaged parts of the world. Several countries are already on board, and the site promises to be the Wikipedia of water resources.

David Maidment, director of the Center for Research in Water Resources and a professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, helped develop the online system known as WaterML 2.0.

“WaterML 2 is a fundamental advance – the first public standard for exchange of water data through the Internet. It will make water data more accessible and usable throughout the world,” Maidment said.

The site is a candidate of the Open Geospatial Consortium’s (OGC) standard for the representation of hydrologic observations. This standard supports encoding of hydrologic and hydrogeologic observation data in Web-based data sharing scenarios involving activities such as hydrologic monitoring and forecasting, operation of dams and water supply systems and disaster management.

WaterML 2.0 is the result of an international cooperative effort of the OGC Hydrology Domain Working Group, which involves hydrologic and government agencies, software providers, universities and research organizations from Australia, the United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries.

In the video above, Maidment details how WaterML 2.0 works and could impact how we use and manage water.