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Water Information Systems : Only what is well known can be managed!

Published February 2010

(The News N° 17 - February 2010)

Access to reliable information on the status and evolution of water resources and uses is a major stake for formulating and following up any consistent and effective policy in this sector: should they be for actions related to regulations, planning, utility and risk management or public information, the managers of water resources, the international, regional and transboundary organizations, communities and operators,… regularly need updated and relevant information.

Since 1992, IOWater has especially deve loped the “National Data Refe rence Center for Water” (SANDRE) in France, within the French Water Information System (WIS).

For 20 years, the International Office for Water has been at the frontline of technical evolution and makes its expertise on water data and information management available to the national, regional and basin authorities to allow them creating and developing their own tools and procedures for data administration and enhancement:

  1. Creation of regional, national or Basin Water Information Systems (WIS).
  2. Development of data bases and Geographic Information Systems (indicators on IWRM, water accounts, management of licenses for uses….).
  3. Creation of catalogues of the sources of water information, as the multiplicity of data producers and sources often involves considerable waste of time to identify useful information and to spe cify the conditions of accessibility. The development of catalogues on the Web facilitates the inventory and identification of available data within a participative process with the information producers / managers.
  4. Development of Web portals on Water. These Web portals, developed at the regio nal, national or basin level, allow the dissemination of general information to the public and facilitate the sharing between partners of specific information (data, documents and calendar). They also give access to tools for data updating and processing (databases and metadata, tables, diagrams, mapping information, Web mapping/cartographic interfaces on line), and to documentary infor mation (networks of documentary centers, biblio - metry, etc.).

Within international cooperation, the International Office for Water also takes part in many projects in the World, such as for example:

  • AWIS: African Water Information and Documentation System;
  • EMWIS: Euro-Mediterranean Water Information System.
  • ACODIA: database of the international actions of the French Water Agencies;
  • Regional Water Information System of West Africa;
  • Web portal of the Volta Basin Authority;
  • Water Observation Mechanism in the Mediterranean;
  • Management of the Nile water quality in Egypt;
  • Development of Web mapping applications for water management in the Palmas and Manuel Alves River Basins, Tocantins State, Brazil;
  • Data bases for managing licenses for water resources exploitation in Kosovo;
  •  Information system on the economic aspects of water management (authorizations, water taxes, etc.) in Bulgaria;
  • Project on “capacity building in data administration for the evaluation and follow-up of transboundary water resour - ces” in the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia within UNECE;
  • Support to the organization of a Euro- Mediterranean metadata catalogue, compatible with the Water Information System for Europe (WISE) and the Inspire Directive, etc.