|Where Does One Obtain Data and Information on Water Resources?
Several state and federal agencies collect water data and maintain databases related to
water supplies in Illinois. Some agencies do research, prepare informational publications, and
provide internet access to information such as this web site. A prime source of data on Illinois’
water supplies is the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), which has been collecting data on water
quantity and quality since 1895. The ISWS maintains extensive data on groundwater supplies,
streamflows, lake levels and storage, and climate conditions. In addition, the ISWS has
maintained a water sampling and climate measuring network of stations across Illinois since the
1980s, resulting in unique data about water temperatures, water pollution, and groundwater
depths. The ISWS has conducted extensive research for more than a century on all facets of water
in Illinois, which has resulted in hundreds of publications about water supplies. Interested readers
are encouraged to inspect the ISWS Web site listing publications. The Midwestern Regional
Climate Center, one of six such centers in the nation, maintains climate data for Illinois and
surrounding states. The Illinois State Climatologist also is at the ISWS, as are staff providing
surface water and floodplain information services. ISWS also maintains a Public Service
Other state and federal agencies also collect water data and maintain special databases.
For example, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency routinely samples water at numerous
locations around the state and maintains an in-depth water-quality database. Federal agencies that
collect water data and maintain databases include the U.S. Geological Survey (river flows), the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (soil erosion and sediment), and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, which collects and stores most of the nation’s weather data through
its National Weather Service.
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