Western States Water Council

A Voice for Water in the West 

Western State Water Program Capabilities Assessment Report

The WSWC is excited to release their most recent publication, the “Western State Water Program Capabilities Assessment Survey Report.” The completion of the survey and report is a major step forward for the Water Data Exchange (WaDE) program as it shows similarities and also variations in member states’ water planning activities, such as data gathering, water use reporting, and data management. It discusses challenges ahead for achieving a comprehensive, regional water availability and use pictures of the West, and also makes recommendations for how to get there. 

The data collected by states, how they collect it, and how they store it is highly variable. As a foundational step, a survey was issued by the State Capabilities Assessment Workgroup to all WSWC members to determine common elements between state water planning programs, IT capabilities, preferred platforms, and challenges to aggregating disparate datasets. The survey provided a comprehensive inventory of state curated datasets, and served to highlight both the similarities and differences between programs. The results were collated into a report, with an extensive data and methodology inventory in the appendix, a short presentation that serves as a visual executive summary, and a series of related maps that portray the current status of state water planning programs.

Because of spatial, temporal, and methodological differences used by the states, the data shared in WaDE do not present a regional, comparable picture of water supply and use in the West. Now that data are flowing within the WaDE Portal, the WSWC and its member states can begin to address how to migrate state agency workflows to include more similar products. They can also begin to make recommendations on policies and procedures that will need to be put into place within their states to support such an integrated, westwide view of water.

Summary of Findings and Recommendations

Click below for an introductory tour of the highlights, findings, recommendations and maps of the Western State Water Program Capabilities Assessment Survey Report.

OR just take me to the maps

The state capabilities assessment workgroup is charged with evaluating the current capabilities of the western states in regards to water allocation, supply, and demand data. The purpose of this workgroup is to provide a better understanding of the current data systems and data holdings of each state as well as the reporting requirements that each state requires of their water users. They will accomplish this by conducting a survey of the western states focusing on questions regarding:

  • Types of data collected
  • Methods used to store the data
  • Methods used to make the data available to the public, including formats
  • Methods used to estimate consumptive use
  • Water user reporting requirements and policies
  • Future development plans

This workgroup will coordinate their survey with the other workgroups to minimize the number of surveys being sent to the states and to avoid any duplication. The information gathered via this survey will help inform the other workgroups who will be working in parallel to this effort. This workgroup will report on their findings to the full subcommittee.



The work from this group has been finalized and the workgroup has been decommissioned.

Past Meetings and Minutes

WG1 – November 30, 2011 – Minutes

WG1 – January 13, 2012 – Minutes

WG1 – September 30, 2013 – Minutes

WG1 – May 9, 2014 – Minutes