We're able to provide a visual, interactive display that allows users to see a more complete picture to make more informed decisions
State of Kansas Addresses Long-Term Water Supply Finance Needs with GIS
Governments across the nation are addressing water resource issues for an equitable and sustainable future. Over the next decades, changes in climate, socioeconomic systems, and human interaction with water will shift and possibly lead to scarcity of the valuable resource. One Kansas organization is using geographic information system (GIS) technology to share budgetary information, project status updates, and conservation strategies with lawmakers and residents across the state.
The Kansas Water Office (KWO) is a state-run agency that communicates, coordinates, and provides marketing resources to support a statewide water plan. The Kansas Water Plan is the primary source document developed by state officials to address the availability of water supplies and plan for a sustainable future. Objectives include conserving and extending aquifer water levels, protecting reservoirs, improving overall water quality, reducing vulnerabilities to extreme weather events, and increasing awareness of water resource needs through public education. The plan is also used by residents, advocacy groups, and local governments to enhance awareness of water resource needs in the state.
KWO's audiences vary based on the information needed, the level of detail required, and how the data should be presented. Having multiple stakeholder groups across the state, KWO needed a modern, efficient solution to explain and easily display the State Water Plan Fund (SWPF) created to implement the state water plan. KWO had used spreadsheets to share data with various audiences but had a difficult time displaying and sharing information in a meaningful and impactful way for the complex history of the SWPF.
Projects are funded by various water user fees and general tax contributions to the state. Annually, the funds are distributed to multiple state government agencies for a range of projects including watershed dam construction, irrigation technology, basin management practices, water use studies, crop and livestock water research, water education, public water supply support, and flood response.
Principles that guide funding distribution are rooted in education, conservation, and sustainability. All potentially funded programs are reviewed by the KWO and various state agencies for creation of an annual budget. Then recommendations are made to the governor and state legislature to ensure water policies and programs equitably address the unique needs of residents, and the SWPF supports the state’s water resource goals.
With a variety of stakeholder groups and options for implementing the state water plan in conjunction with the SWPF, leaders at KWO saw an opportunity to be innovative while building efficiencies into their data sharing.
KWO realized a GIS solution could create efficiencies in processes and data sharing with constituencies. The agency chose ArcGIS Insights, a self-service location analytics application, which allows users to explore data and cross-filter results. ArcGIS Insights made it easier for KWO staff to help stakeholders go into more detail about specific information they were seeking.
"We're able to provide a visual, interactive display that allows users to see a more complete picture to make more informed decisions," said Katie Goff, GIS coordinator, Kansas Water Office.
KWO also uses GIS to show past areas of focus and identify the need for future funding requests to make faster, better-informed budget decisions.
Kansas residents can access the interactive display to better understand and advocate for their needs. They can analyze past public budget data, review project funding, and understand in greater detail how their water needs fit into budgetary decisions made by elected officials.
KWO has a lot of information to share, and it now has one simplified access point for its data. A hub site, created using ArcGIS Hub, supports data sharing about the SWPF, enabling users to view background information and relevant statutes before diving into the information.
"[Utilizing the insights and hub pages] regional planners have been conducting informational sessions to ask questions of stakeholders, and this information loop helps us to understand what is important to regional users through facilitated discussions. We are also more efficient by not replicating multiple regional static maps. With an easy upload of data, next year's fiscal data can be easily viewed," Goff said.
Building time-saving measures for KWO staff has also led to streamlined communications with stakeholders. "Internal staff has found the solution incredibly helpful. When they are asked questions by residents or regional members, they now have a better understanding of the data. This helps facilitate better conversations and decision-making processes," Goff said.
ArcGIS supports water resources
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