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FL Water District Ensures Sustainability by Monitoring 7,000+ Continuous Water Quality Data Points

Florida, USA
Aquatic Informatics

Government Champion

Technical Program Manager for the Water Quality Monitoring Program

Cost

Zero upfront cost to local government

Project Status

Operational since 2016

At a Glance

As an environmental regulatory agency, St. Johns River Water Management District is responsible for ensuring sustainability and water quality. The district’s daily 7,000+ water data points were left decentralized, limiting staff in its ability to act on water abnormalities.

Problem Addressed

The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) is one of the five water management districts in the state of Florida. As an environmental regulatory agency, the district is responsible for protecting natural resources, ensuring compliant water quality for a healthy ecosystem, and ensuring the long-term sustainable use of Florida’s water for the benefit of the people of the district and the state.

The water quality monitoring program team is committed to protecting and restoring water quality through monitoring and reporting.This enables the entire district and its stakeholders to make decisions based on accurate and timely information. The water quality data quality assurance team manages a large amount of water quality data, both discrete and continuous, for its surface and groundwater monitoring programs. With over 40 continuous monitoring stations, over 1 million data points collected each year, 800 time-series, and over 900 discrete surface and groundwater monitoring stations.

SJRWMD was wasting time, using a lot of manual workflows time-consuming, and experiencing difficultly centralizing its water quality data with its field visit data. The Technical Program Manager for the Water Quality Monitoring Program had access to so much data and receiving hourly continuous water quality data into our system that amounted to over 7,000 daily data points, but no efficient way to manage and quality assure it all. They needed to be confident in their data's accuracy and defensibility.

Challenges included the difficulty to quality assure its data, perform drift checks and correct data efficiently. The district also wanted to use the same tried and tested robust tools that the USGS and other agencies have adopted. Together these issues were consuming valuable staff time.

St. Johns River Management District used/is using Aquarius for continuous water quality monitoring to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

SJRWMD uses the Aquarius software platform to streamline the management of continuous water data with powerful data processing tools and automates storage, processing and workflows. One of the key benefits was the defensible historical data trail, keeping both the updated and original values. It also makes it much easier to flag poor data and adjust its accuracy.

Data accessibility is now improved with the web portal and its custom dashboards make it easy to communicate with internal stakeholders, including field staff, project managers, and scientists. The modern dashboard approach helps data consumers get a quick understanding of continuous water quality data, and more specifically, how things change over time. This has helped with long term decision-making based on the predictability of trends.

Customizable alerts push critical data notifications to the necessary staff when action needs to be taken. This enables more proactive response to address problems before they escalate, like dissolved oxygen, and makes project managers and field technicians more efficient and focused when responding to issues.

Dashboards used for diagnostics and data visualization allow decision-makers to quickly see contextual insights. The first is the status dashboard, visually representing the major parameters that are measured by probes at each station. This determines if any data is overdue and by how long and also if data is being suppressed or if one of the probes is down, and more. The second dashboard graphs a 7-day timeline for every parameter of interest, which includes parameters such as battery voltage. Finally, the third dashboard shows 30-day snapshots of groups of stations, which makes it easier for staff to see changes that have been happening over a longer period of time. These dashboards are useful to staff members who collect data and troubleshoot station problems.

Outcomes

  1. A historical data trail, giving officials insights on prior modifications and changes in water quality
  2. Automatic email alerts sent when water reaches abnormal levels, enabling key personnel to react before triggering a larger regulatory problem
  3. Greater data integrity, decreasing short-term response times and increasing credibility of long-term decision-making
  4. With customizable dashboards, staff can change the content to only view fundamental decision-making information
  5. A centralized system that makes data sharing with stakeholders seamless and automatic

Something Unique

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) sends out daily emails to important stakeholders including data snapshots from SJRWMD's algal bloom monitoring data. The centralized system allows the FDEP to more effectively communicate these levels to senior managers from multiple agencies during hotter months.

Who Should Consider?

Governments and water agencies that monitor natural water resources by continually acquiring, processing and modelling data and sharing that information with stakeholders.

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