The ultimate goal of data collection in hydrology, be it precipitation measurements, water-level recordings, discharge gaugings, groundwater monitoring and water quality sampling, is to provide a set of sufficient good quality data that can be used in decision-making in all aspects of water resources management, in the wide range of operational applications as well as in research.
Decisions may be made directly from raw data measurements or based on derived statistics or on the results of many stages of modelling beyond the raw data stage, but it is the collected data that form the basis for these decisions. Data sets are of great intrinsic value as they are collected through a huge commitment of human and financial resources and often during a long period of time, and they acquire also a use value when are made available in an usable form to the final users to respond to their specific needs.
The management of hydrological data is therefore important work in itself and this work must be performed effectively in order to maximize the results of the investments put in their collection and their possibility of being effectively used.
Data management can be addressed from two complementary points of view: one aiming at preserving from loss and degradation, making accessible and disseminating the data sets that have been collected, the other aiming at increasing their value for final users and includes error detection, quality control and various processes for generating computed (e.g. evaporation or discharge) or aggregated data (e.g. time averaged mean discharges) or estimating missing ones.
WMO Hydrology and Water Resources Programme has always given high priority to issue related to data management, be it through the work of experts of the Commission for Hydrology, the publication of manual and other guidance material, the implementation of projects for improving data collection and information production (such as WHYCOS) and data rescue, the promotion of the access to and exchange of hydrological data, through the implementation of the Resolution 25 (Cg-XIII) - Exchange of Hydrological Data and Products.
To know more about the various aspects of data management:
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