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In the late 1950's, intense demands for water and growing concerns about declines in the quality of water generated the need for more water-resources data. About thirty Federal agencies, hundreds of State, county and local agencies, and many private organizations had been collecting water data. However, because of differences in procedures and equipment, many of the data bases were incompatible. In 1964, as a step toward establishing more uniformity, the Bureau of the Budget (now the Office of Management and Budget, OMB) issued “Circular A-67” which presented guidelines for collecting water data and also served as a catalyst for creating the Office of Water Data Coordination (OWDC) within the U.S. Geological Survey. As one of its early actions, OWDC gathered representatives from private enterprises, educational institutions, technical societies and government agencies to form two advisory committees. Work groups from these committees then wrote a manual entitled, “The National Handbook of Recommended Methods for Water Data Acquisition.” Nationally accepted methods were cited for measuring, sampling, and analyzing water and for processing hydrologic data. The methods included the collection of data on water in aquifers, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, and the atmosphere. The long-range plan was to periodically update the manual by adding new water-data methods as they were developed.
This paper discusses past, present, and future aspects of the relation between methods in the National Handbook and standards published by ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) Committee D-19 on Water's Subcommittee D-19.07 on Sediment, Geomorphology, and Open Channel Flow. The discussion also covers historical aspects of standards-development work jointly conducted by OWDC and ASTM.
water data, data base, water quality, surface water, sediment
Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Office of Water Data Coordination, Reston,
Project Leader, U.S. Geological Survey, Federal Interagency Sedimentation Project, St,. Anthony Falls Hydraulics Laboratory, Minneapolis,