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Water Data and Science Committee Meeting Summary October 2, 2019 Webinar–Dr. Mark Svoboda, National Drought Mitigation Center “U.S. Drought Monitor”

  1. Call to Order—Chair Amy Shallcross DRBC called to order at 10:03 a.m. Central 
  • Introductions of Participants on the call: Amy Shallcross, Chair, DRBC; Tom Littlepage, AL OWR; Sue Lowry, ICWP Executive Director; Joy Loughry, MNDNR; Becca Emery, Kisters; Randy Hadland, YSI; Lauren Salvato, UMRBA; Mark Svobada, Drought Mitigation Center. 

Dr. Svoboda’s Presentation Can be Downloaded Here:

  • Presentation by Dr. Mark Svoboda, Drought Mitigation Center
    • US Drought Monitor—Mark was co-founder of the Drought monitor.  The Drought Mitigation Center was formed in 1995 and Mark has worked there since start, and last 3 years as Director.  Palmer Drought index was all we had for quite a while, which had an ag bent and was used until early 1990’s.  The current Drought Monitor is a hybrid approach.:  Meteorological, Ag, Hydrological, Socio-economic, Ecological—Types of drought and short/long term droughts. NDMC/NOAA/USDA-crucial partnership and trigger point for several programs.  IRS for tax deferrals; CDC; other agencies wouldn’t necessarily come to mind that use the USDM.  Input into the USDM—1-33 people in each state on USDM Listserv to get local input. Forums (like what was just held in Bowling Green) have been held annually since 2000. USDM is NOT: a forecast (7 a.m. on Tuesday) for a map produced on Thursday. NOT a model; NOT just based on precip; Around 6 months the cut-off between short and long term impacts.  Scientific Backbone-D0 a head’s up-not a drought category. Percentiles relative to the area’s conditions/norms. Combinations of indictors are the next wave of research—machine learning will be of assistance—varies by region.  Satellite:  ET; Rainfall; soil moisture; vegetative condition; snow cover.  Maps in the drop-downs on the USDM page give past conditions and more information on the remotely sensed data that can be accessed directly.  Maps/Data tab.  Future—USDM changes directly to the map by local experts. Impact tables by 50 states have been updated.  Drought Impact Reporter was discussed ways to expand its usefulness.  Q&A:  How to incorporate the Flash Drought on-set and impacts?  Evaporative Demand Drought Index maps—sandy soils regions react more quickly.  How to put consistent measures of the impacts in the different impact categories. Lack of impact collection, but currently don’t have baseline information to compare against.  20 year period of record of USDM is not long enough for some applications like actuarial tables for insurance risk.  Temporal nature to impacts—some times of year are more detrimental than others.  
  • Action items related to USDM:
    • Sue will work with Mark Svoboda on support language and advocacy for baseline funding for the USDM 
    • ICWP will consider a letter to USDA to support/request funding  for new drought monitor product more closely aligned with ag financial aid metrics.
    • Explore if there is a role for ICWP related to the Drought Impact Reporter
  • Support letter for Modernization of NWISWeb to USGS leadership
    • Letter to Jim Kreft on Technical topics—may expand after hearing from the Water Use focus area
    • Support letter to Don Cline sent Sept. 16
  • Response from USGS on WUDR request
    • Potential joint committee meeting with Water Planning to discuss next steps—Will discuss further on the next webinar Nov. 18
  • ICWP will be seeking issues prioritization from full membership at Mobile

The survey will be sent to the full membership right after the Mobile meeting with a deadline for submitting to Sue by Oct. 31. 

  • Workplan development for the Committee
    • Workplan list—adding web links and editing to be stand-alone document
  • Other items for the Committee’s consideration 

An all-ICWP webinar on Interbasin transfers is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. central

Out meeting topics were discussed for following the joint webinar in November.  Early in 2020 the committee will continue working on the drought topics and will be informed by the actions at the NIDIS Executive council meeting that is to be held on Dec. 6.  The committee is also interested in hearing more about the NWIS Modernization, beyond those topics covered by Jim Kreft.  Someone from the Water Use side would be a good speaker.  Amy/Sue will check with Molly Maupin on who would be best from the USGS to make this presentation. 

  • Next call or webinar—Next webinar will be held jointly with the Water Planning committee and is set for Monday, November 18 at 10 a.m. Central time.  Kim Shaffer from the USGS will be discussing the WUDR program. 

Topics Identified by the Committee for Future Work:(Updated list based on 7/25/19 call)

Potential Work Plan Items (list provided as a reminder of issues raised by committee members as important to ICWP membership)

  1. Potential ICWP Support of USGS Efforts
    1. USGS Next Gen System
    1. Water-Use Data and Research—Remains a high priority
    1. Review of NAS Study on USGS Water Discipline
    1. Multi-Signature support letter for Streamgaging Programs
      1. Early spring letter signed by stakeholders
      1. Letter in the fall signed by states/interstates/tribes
    1. WD & S Committee participation with the Streamflow Information Collaborative Workgroup of the Advisory Committee on Water Information
    1. Climate/Weather Extremes
      1. Flash Droughts
      1. NIDIS/NDRP
      1. Baseline for determining Climate Change
      1. Paleo-drought studies
    1. Position Paper or other action to counter the current attacks on science and science’s role in decision making
    1. Other items the Committee could explore:
      1. Internet of Water
      1. Data Portals/Data Exchange
      1. Support for NRCS Snow Survey Program
    1. National Water Model Priorities
      1. Especially understanding the underlying models and how those could be used by others
    1. Tracking of Emerging Tools or Trends in Water Data/Science
      1. Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations
      1. Seasonal to Sub-Seasonal Forecasting
      1. NASA Western Water Office—Peter Gill and Adel will keep the committee apprised of any activities of interest beyond the western states. 

Committee Accomplishments:

Letter supporting WUDR and requesting analysis to Molly Maupin

GOES Support letter to FCC

Letter supporting NWISWeb modernization was sent to Don Cline

            Committee mission is to educate ICWP members on current data and science trends and to advocate support for data and science programs at the national level.