EPA, USGS Announce Release Of Water Resources

EPA, along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners at the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City, has launched a new Internet resource, the "WSPortal." In a separate announcement, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said it recently released a new version of its widely used groundwater computer model known as MODFLOW.

WSPortal

The portal, announced by EPA on March 20, will assist countries in delivering safe drinking water to their citizens by using Water Safety Plans (WSPs), health-based risk assessments that identify problems in a water system and chart corrective actions to take.

"March 22 is World Water Day, and I am pleased that the U.S. can now announce a new tool for countries to address a very serious global problem," said Judith E. Ayres, EPA's assistant administrator for the Office of International Affairs. "For countries to move forward in providing a better life for their citizens, clean water and adequate sanitation are essential first steps."

The Portal resides on the World Health Organization Web site (http://www.who.int/wsportal), and represents the first step in the widespread dissemination of best practices for delivering safe drinking water through the use of Water Safety Plans. This "catchment to consumer" approach allows countries to catch problems with a water system before they contaminate drinking water and cause illness. This approach also highlights the best opportunities for potential donors and investors to select projects to fund that would have the largest positive impact on water safety, agency officials said.

EPA also has provided initial financial assistance in development of the Web site and is involved in WSP demonstration projects in Jamaica and India. Other participants in the launch include the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, the Australian Agency for International Development, the United Kingdom Department of International Development, The New Zealand Ministry of Health, and the International Water Association, and Water for People.

Additional information on the World Water Forum can be found at http://www.worldwaterforum4.org.mx/home/home.asp. To learn more about EPA's international water programs, see http://www.epa.gov/international/water/index.html.

MODFLOW

MODFLOW-2005, announced on March 15, can be used to help address such issues as water availability and sustainability, interaction of ground water and surface water, wellhead protection, seawater intrusion and remediation of contaminated groundwater, USGS officials said.

As the nationĀ“s environmental issues become more complex, there is a growing need to connect modeling programs. MODFLOW-2005 contains structural changes that make it easier to connect to other computer models, such as watershed and surface-water models and groundwater management models. MODFLOW-2005 also contains internal changes needed for local grid refinement, which is the ability to refine a grid within an existing model. This capability makes it possible to incorporate a higher-resolution grid within a coarser-grid model.

The groundwater flow part of MODFLOW-2005 functions much like previous versions of the model, and MODFLOW-2005 reads the same input files as previous versions. Many, but not all, of the features of MODFLOW-2000 have been included in the initial release of MODFLOW-2005; additional features will be updated over the next several months. MODFLOW-2005 is available free to all users at http://water.usgs.gov/nrp/gwsoftware/modflow2005/modflow2005.html.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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