Recently a colleague asked me what water things to add to his new data-heavy knowledge base.
I recommended these sources of data from the U.S. government:
- Streamflows from the USGS (U.S. Geological Service);
- Drinking water quality, from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
- – or more easily from the Environmental Working Group;
- Irrigation from the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
The following are some EPA databases that don’t work:
- permits for water discharge (e.g. apparently there are none for New York, NY);
- water quality of streams (processed water) — the better database on this is the one that Charles Duhigg and the NY Times compiled using the Freedom of Information Act, but it’s not available to the public.
For the finances of water utilities, see:
- water and wastewater assessments of needs by the EPA, and their more general survey from 2000;
- water and wastewater rate studies by Circle of Blue, doing the work that the Energy Information Administration does for energy utilities.
Someday someone will provide water data as good as what the EIA provides for energy.