Environmental Protection

National Water Census to Enhance Sustainability

A report on the progress of the National Water Census from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been released to Congress. The census is being developed to deal with the critical water needs that the country is currently facing.

The Water Census will help water and resource managers to better understand the water supply and demand and will also be an aid in establishing more sustainable management of water resources. The report discusses a “water budget” approach in assessing water availability across the country. The USGS will constantly update the census as a way to improve the accuracy of water budget factors.

Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, presented the report to Congress. “This update to the National Water Census—the first since 1978—will give the nation critical new information about the availability and use of America’s freshwater resources,” stated Salazar. “Development of the new state-of-the-art National Water Census forms a vital component of the Department of the Interior’s overall strategy to help ensure sustainable water resources for the United States. Similar to the need for the U.S. population census to make informed societal decisions, resource managers need the water census to support wise policy and decision-making on water matters.”

“It’s true in other fields and no less so for water: you can’t manage what you don’t measure. The Water Census will quantify water supply and demand consistently across the entire country, fill in gaps in existing data, and make that information available to anyone who needs it—and that represents a huge step forward on the path toward water sustainability,” added Anne Castle, assistant secretary for the Interior’s Water and Science.

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