Wyoming Shares Water Resources Data

GIS Used to Provide Hydrological, Climatological Information

…from the Winter 2009/2010 issue of ArcNews

From the snow-packed peaks in Grand Teton National Park to the harsh, dry plains of the Red Desert, Wyoming is truly a land of climate extremes. As the fifth driest state in the United States, Wyoming is constantly threatened by drought. Since 1999, much of Wyoming has been gripped by moderate to severe drought, prompting the state to take careful account of its water resources. To help meet those demands, the Water Resources Data System (WRDS) at the University of Wyoming provides both hydrological and climatological information to the public and to federal, state, and local agencies. WRDS offers extensive current and historical spatial data with related attribute information. With so much of the water data in Wyoming linked to spatial attributes, WRDS has taken steps to disseminate all this data via the Internet to water managers, legislators, and stakeholders across the state.

WRDS has long been a library and data repository for Wyoming water- and climate-related information. WRDS is often tasked with the creation of maps for various water plans around the state, and this is accomplished using different GIS applications. WRDS has taken advantage of the University of Wyoming’s ESRI University Site License and made available water and climate data using customized ArcIMS services. Publishing this type of data via customized ArcIMS applications allows numerous water stakeholders to examine how different areas of the state are developing and using existing water and to determine where in the state those resources may be most sensitive to changes in climate, shifts in demand, and increasing human populations.