GIS and Water

GIS has become a key tool for water resource management because so many human, environmental, and geographic factors affect water quality, quantiy, flow, and availability.

Examples of GIS for Water Research

  • NOAA’s Spatial Trends in Coastal Socioeconomics - provides access to several national demographic and economic datasets recompiled in a variety of geographic units that managers must work with on a daily basis.
  • USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program - combines water quality measurements with spatial information concerning hydrological characteristics, land use, and other landscape features in models to extend water-quality understanding to unmonitored areas 
  • USGS Water Division - portal to USGS research and data pertaining to water resources.
  • South Florida Water Management District – Technical Data and Documents - the SFWMD makes extensive use of GIS and mapping to manage water resources in South Florida (including the Everglades) – check out the links to the Environmental Database, GIS/Maps, Reports/Plans, and Simulation Modeling for examples of how GIS is used.
  • Arc Hydro - an ArcGIS extension focusing on modeling surface water flow. Created at the University of Texas at Austin, Center for Research in Water Resources. Also highly recommended is the book, Arc Hydro: GIS for Water Resources (see limited preview on Google Books) – the Tufts GIS Center has a copy for in-lab use, and Tisch Library also has it for check-out.
  • ESRI GIS for Water Resources - ESRI’s web site regarding GIS and Water – good links to different examples of using GIS.
  • USGS Sparrow Surface Water Quality Modeling -  SPARROW is a modeling tool for the regional interpretation of water-quality monitoring data

See also the Water Data section of GISTA for water-related spatial data sets.

Examples of Peer-Reviewed Research

Garbrecht, J., F.L. Ogden, P.A. DeBarry and D.R. Maidment. 2001. GIS and Distributed Watershed Models. I: Data Coverages and Sources. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 6 (6): 506-514.

DeCatanzaro, R., Cvetkovic, M., & Chow-Fraser, P. (2009, September). The Relative Importance of Road Density and Physical Watershed Features in Determining Coastal Marsh Water Quality in Georgian Bay. Environmental Management, 44(3), 456-467. Retrieved August 31, 2009, doi:10.1007/s00267-009-9338-0

Bohlen, C., & Lewis, L. (2009, July 2). Examining the economic impacts of hydropower dams on property values using GIS. Journal of Environmental Management, 90, S258-S269. Retrieved August 31, 2009, doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2008.07.026

Atkinson, S., Johnson, D., Venables, B., Slye, J., Kennedy, J., Dyer, S., et al. (2009, June 15). Use of watershed factors to predict consumer surfactant risk, water quality, and habitat quality in the upper Trinity River, Texas. Science of the Total Environment, 407(13), 4028-4037. Retrieved August 31, 2009, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.02.029