Redlands, USA, July 26, 2007: The Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) is implementing ESRI’s ArcGIS Server and updating its existing geographic information system (GIS) to ArcGIS 9.2 technology. This move will support IDWR’s GIS analysts in the technology and adjudication sections as well as more than 150 IDWR staff who use GIS technology to answer questions, create maps, and identify water-use activities.
IDWR is responsible for administering water use in the state of Idaho. It has used ESRI GIS technology for more than two decades, and now all of the department’s business processes use GIS, from the filing of water rights and adjudication of water right claims to making high-level water administration decisions based on hydrologic modeling. Most recently, the Adjudication Bureau reviewed 180,000 claims in the Snake River Basin, the largest adjudication in the nation. A water rights adjudication identifies, reviews, and decrees claims to valid water use. ESRI’s ArcView software was used in the review to both map and analyze these claims.
To prepare for processing approximately 20,000 water rights claims in the north Idaho adjudication, the department is creating an interactive Web page planned for 2008 that will allow applicants to file a claim online. ArcGIS Server will make public access to the department’s terabyte of data and images easier. The public can access maps and high-resolution aerial photographs to identify their land, then draw their water-use and water-diversion locations on top of the images. This online capability makes it more convenient for applicants and saves time for office staff by increasing the accuracy of the location data that accompanies claims.
Within the IDWR Technical Services Bureau, the Hydrology Section runs water rights accounting models for five river basins. IDWR, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Idaho Watermasters use the results to calculate annual storage, time reservoir releases, and distribute water to irrigators. The GIS upgrade will increase efficiency as they redesign and simplify current models into a GIS environment with integrated tools for data visualization and plotting. ArcGIS Server will also help integrate quality assurance and control procedures.