Understand Water Risk

Estimated Time to Read: 3 Minutes

In our last post, we reviewed how to identify water risk indicators that cut across different stakeholders and the importance of combining multiple factors to better understand their relationships. Understanding relationships between different risk indicators becomes difficult with the introduction of more indicators and variables. However, if you create a system that assists you in understanding the relationships and displays significant connections, you are better positioned to make use of the data. AQUAOSO decided to create a software platform that assist with the complex task of understanding water risk.

Making Connections 

Making connections requires:

  • data
  • analysis
  • communication

For example, We have a view of Ol’ McDonald’s crops on one of his farming operations: 

Donut Chart of Crops 

We also know that the farm is in Water District X and Groundwater Basin Y. Below shows an example of tracking groundwater (light blue) and surface water (dark blue) deliveries for Water District X: Line Chart of Historical Water SupplyWe can see from these two figures that groundwater pumping increases as surface water availability decreases. Also, referencing the donut graph of Farm #1, Ol’ McDonald has a majority of permanent crops that have high water demand. Alarming to the astute water risk analyst is the projection that both water supplies will decrease in 2020. The decrease is likely due to Groundwater Basin Y’s location in a high priority basin subject to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  

Data 

The difficult part about making these connections is obtaining enough data to generate the above figures and give a complete picture of a water risk scenario. Collecting data takes time and persistence. For example, to produce the above charts for Farm #1 on a real parcel of land requires obtaining data on:

  1. parcel boundaries,
  2. ownership,
  3. crops within those boundaries,
  4. water district historical and current water delivery records, and
  5. groundwater pumping information.

Not only does each piece of information reside in a different place, it is often trapped in difficult to use formats for proper analysis. AQUAOSO knows because we already did this and continue to update our database daily.  

Analysis 

The analysis on one property using excel spreadsheets and making phone calls that may or may not be returned in a timely manner was the typical method in gathering water data. Such 20th Century methods were necessary because technology was not cheap enough to deploy efficient and affordable solutions. Additionally, analysis used to require an expensive expert, to assist with understanding any of the data collected and often charge a high price for that analysis.

While there are times when experts are certainly needed, reviewing multiple properties in a portfolio for water risk indicators or setting a strategic plan for water risk does not require in-depth human analysis. We built a system that saves time for employees and saves money for any operation that is serious about water risk. Using advanced technologies like geospatial analysis and machine learning allows AQUAOSO to analyze data and make necessary connections right from your computer. 

Communication 

Advanced technology is great, but most people are not technological wizards or water experts. You need to be able to understand the complex analysis enough to communicate actionable recommendations for your organization and community. AQUAOSO provides reports that summarize the necessary analysis for a property resulting in a full picture of water risk for an agricultural parcel, set of parcels, or a full portfolio of properties spread throughout California. The best part is that it takes minutes instead of days and everyone can be on the same page, literally. 

Giving Back 

We want to encourage you to let others know about the free map and ask that if you have data resources related to water supply, groundwater levels, or water demand in California that you send it our way as we continue to improve our free map resource. We also invite you to download our white papers for an in-depth discussion of water risk in agriculture by clicking on the Insights tab at the top of the webpage. 

Contact us today!