Information Management

Data Management in River Basins

Usually researchers and stakeholders need to approach a number of institutions to obtain the data to be analyzed. Especially for river basin assessment, data requirements are diverse containing hydro-meteorological time series, spatial data as well as information about the institutional setup. Apart from being dispersed, the data often are full of gaps and errors and are provided in different formats. Providing a homogenous and correct database significantly enhances water related research activities.
To build up upon and to improve existing river basin information for research and water management, for most of the river basins presented on basin-info, the RBIS (River basin Information System) developed by the Department of Geoinformatics of the University of Jena, was established. Each RBIS can be accessed on the respective river basin section of
RBIS has the following characteristics:

  • Web-based data management and sharing platform to support single researchers, bilateral research activities and multi-disciplinary research projects during project and beyond
  • Web-based data management and sharing platform to support single researchers, bilateral research activities and multi-disciplinary research projects during project and beyond
  • Management, analysis, visualization and presentation of different types of data for Scientist & Stakeholder

Its key competence is to store and visualize hydro-meteorological data as well as to fill gaps in climate data based on different statistical methods.
However, any kind of data relevant for a river basin can be stored:

Information Management 

The RBIS is designed with a focus on i) metadata ii) time series data iii) geodata of the basin. These three components of RBIS are interlinked with each other in the system and thereby users can easily switch between the components. In addition, the RBIS provides user-friendly interfaces for data input and output, powerful visualization components, and an adaptable set of functions for data analysis, data management, and data enrichment.

The assessment strategies need to be defined on the basis of the state of the basin in a collaborative process with all relevant stakeholders being involved. 

Monitoring programs need to define 

• What to measure / monitor?: which parameter is measured and which indicator is reported

• How to monitor? The monitoring technique : (which technology, method or source to be used to monitor the different parameters

• Where to monitor? The location (micro and macro location)

• How often to monitor? The distribution of sampling/observation during the day or year, the monitoring frequency

The collected data is stored in information systems which make the raw data or further data products like modeling results, maps or scenarios available for users (see RBIS) as an example for a web based information system.


Table: List of information products collected for a basic basin inventory 

Issue Data  

Water and Environment

Landscape Basin and sub-basin boundaries  
  Digital elevation  
  Vegetation and land cover  
  Land cover  
Water cycle and climate Precipitation, temperature, humidity, radiation, wind speed, ET0   
  Discharge at key locations (time series and statistics at key locations)  
  Groundwater level volumes  
  Water levels (lakes and reservoirs)  
  Water quality  
  Monitoring stations  
  Hydrological network  
Ecology Water dependent ecosystems  
  Protected areas  

Water users and Infrastructure

Infrastructure Reservoirs, dams, dikes, chennels, weirs, irrigation systems, wastewater and water supply infrastructure: location, technical features, status  
Users Irrigation systems, domestic and industrial supply, wastewater, hydropower: time series of abstraction and discharges, pollution loads  

Socio-Economics and Governance

Water Economics Economic activities which depend on water (agriculture, domestic and industrial water supply, hydropower etc.) quantification of water demands over space and time. Value of water in relation to various activities, water productivity  
Social Issues Demography and population, cultural and social descriptors of population - political boundaries, stakeholder and conflict analysis  
Water Law and Administration Legislation with relevance to water resources management; relevant water policies, Institutions: their mandate and role; and institutions. Eg. RBOs.  
Water Policy Existing water resources policies and strategies of international, national and local (basin) relevance  
Governance State of participation of public, stakeholders, private sector. Transparency, corruption, accountability   
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