Interim Policy Memorandum about Storing Data in the National Water Information System

In Reply Refer To:                              January 25, 1993
Mail Stop 411


Subject:  Interim Policy Memorandum about Storing Data in
          the National Water Information System

The purpose of this memorandum is to restate and clarify existing
policy regarding the use of the National Water Information System
(NWIS) to store ground-water data collected by the U.S. Geological
Survey, Water Resources Division (WRD).

Problems and Concerns

Discipline reviews are finding that not all ground-water data
collected by WRD are being stored in NWIS.  It appears that some
elements of policy detailed in WRD Memorandum Nos. 76.44, 77.136,
83.89, and 86.28 have been misunderstood and have not been
vigorously enforced at the Regional and Headquarters levels.

Clarification and Restatement of Policy

WRD Memorandum 92.59 has recently been released and states that
the recommendations made by the Data Policy Committee (Open-File
Report 92-56) have been accepted as official policy.  That policy
includes the following:

     "The current policy in WRD is that all water data
     collected as part of the routine data collection of the
     WRD (both basic and project data) must be stored in the
     computer files of the National Water Information System.
     One purpose of this policy is to enable all WRD work to
     be verifiable and repeatable to the greatest extent
     possible at any time in the future."

The Office of Ground Water (OGW) interprets Rroutine data
collection of the WRDS to include all ground-water data collected
by WRD basic data programs and District projects.  Any request for
exemption from this policy must be approved by OGW.  The only
exceptions to this requirement are proprietary data, and data that
cannot be stored in NWIS because they do not functionally fit.
When the new version II of NWIS software is completed, it is
expected that many of the ground-water data that WRD collects will
functionally fit in NWIS, including many types of geophysical,
hydrogeological, and hydraulic test data.

Implementation of Policy

The OGW and the Regional Ground-Water Specialists will review
compliance with this policy during District technical and selected
project reviews and by actual interrogation of NWIS.  Several
recent District reviews by OGW have included an additional person
on the review team for the purpose of examining data-related
issues.  The OGW has added a staff person to specifically address
the issues of data and data bases.  The OGW also has created the
Ground-Water Data Committee to develop recommendations about
issues of policy and management of ground-water data.  Future
memorandums will address other aspects of ground-water data

                                   William M. Alley
                                   Acting Chief, Office
                                   of Ground Water

WRD Distribution:  A, B, S, FO, PO