TR 59 - Water Quality Data Management, L. Saito, July 1992

This report addresses the issue of data management for water quality decision-making. Water quality management is a subset of environmental management, and its importance is reflected in the sobering statistics that over 3 million children died in 1991 from waterborne diseases, many of whom could have been saved with safe drinking water and improved sanitation (Easterbrook, 1992). The management of water quality is highly complex because of the variety of uses of water, sources of degradation, and technologies available. The task of making water quality management decisions is further complicated by the ongoing battles between water quantity and water quality, and the lack of natural economic incentives for upstream polluters to care about water quality downstream (Kneese and Bower, 1968). This complexity results in a critical need for efficient water quality data management. This report will present an assessment of water quality data management and its relation to legislation, agency function and responsibilities, and interagency coordination.