US: The American Water Resources Association (AWRA) announced that during 7th Conference on GIS and Water Resources, it will address the challenge of advancing critical water resources decision-making including a special executive forum with experts from the Google Geospatial Team, Microsoft Research Connections, US Geological Survey, Geomatics Canada, Esri and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences. The conference is scheduled to be held in New Orleans, US, during March 26 – 28, 2012.
In its press statement, the AWRA explained that rapid and timely response to large-scale water-related emergencies is becoming dependent upon the coupling of two things: the availability of advanced GIS linked to water and climate data, and the accessibility of social media tools for communication, collaboration and cooperation.
Significant damage brought on by hurricane Katrina, recent flooding in the Mississippi and the Red River, oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and the Yellowstone River in Montana, and the current Texas drought resulting in serious reductions in the Ogallala Aquifer, among many other events, are requiring the US and Canadian water resources managers and decision-makers to seek faster and better ways to assess surface and groundwater impairments, water shortages, and serious stormwater related conditions and risks.
Recent innovations in geospatial technologies combined with those in water resources modelling and social media have the potential for enabling greater understanding and sharing of critical water data in realtime (streamflow, water quality, precipitation and groundwater conditions). This understanding and sharing provide the capacity for significant improvements in the long-term management of water resources as well as the mitigation of emergencies related to storm events, hazardous discharges, and changes in the water supply.