In July 1999, a Workshop on Global Water Databases was held at the IUGG Congress in Birmingham, UK. The Workshop was convened by several IAHS Commissions (ICASVR, ICWQ, ICSW, ICCE), WMO, the IAHS-WMO Joint Working Group, and IGBP-BAHC. Its purpose was to review the current status of global water databases and how these information resources could be used in synthesis studies of the terrestrial water cycle and in water resources assessment.

The primary goals were to (a) inventory and describe ongoing database efforts at continental-to-global scales that promote water-related science (b) assess the relevance and utility of existing large-scale water sciences data sets for the formulation of water resources policy, (c) review the current state-of-the-art in data base systems for acquiring and managing global water data sets, and (d) discuss current policies on data access/restriction and their impacts on the execution of water-related science.

Several products emerged from the Workshop. First was an articulation of key issues relating to the generation, application, and distribution of the rapidly increasing number of global data sets in the water sciences and water resources A summary of key findings is currently being prepared as a brief article in EOS, published by the American Geophysical Union. The workshop members also drafted an IAHS resolution recognizing the absolute necessity of monitoring data to support the water sciences and requesting that national and international agencies actively work to strengthen existing programs. This resolution was eventually adopted by the Bureau. A press release was also prepared and distributed.


Workshop participants also called for the creation of a WWWeb-based meta-data listing of key water-related data sets. This Web page represents the initial contents of the on-line meta-data repository. Currently, the individual listings represent data sets directly associated with the Workshop participants, but holdings are expected to grow as more data sets are located and information about these data sets mounted.

The data entries represent a broad spectrum of research in the water sciences and include both biophysical as well as socio-economic information resources. The listings presented here provide but a summary of each individual entry. We encourage you to search through these holdings, to highlight data sets that are of interest to you, and to obtain more complete information through the electronic links provided. We also encourage you to contact Charles Vorosmarty (charles.vorosmarty@unh.edu) if you would like to install additional meta data holdings as part of this meta-data system.

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