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Overview of WATERS

How does WATERS help the EPA Water Program meet its mission goals and needs?
This coordination between Water Program databases improves communication and efficiency, enabling EPA to better support its mission goals and needs. The primary goal of the EPA Office of Water is to achieve Clean and Safe Water. Many different EPA Water Programs work together toward achieving this goal, and WATERS can help them share important water quality information.

Water quality information must be gathered to fulfill the requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the two main federal laws that protect our nation's waters.

WATERS and the Clean Water Act
How is water quality determined under the Clean Water Act? Each step of this process involves a separate Water Program database:
Step 1 - Every state adopts goals or standards that need to be met for its waters, based on the intended uses of the waterbodies. Different goals are set for different waterbody uses. Goals and uses WQSDB
Step 2 - Scientists monitor the waters and. . . Monitoring results STORET
Step 3 - give them one of the following scores:
  GOOD - The waterbody fully supports its intended uses.
  IMPAIRED - The waterbody does not support one or more of its intended uses.
Assessment scores NAD
Step 4 - The impaired waters are then targeted by pollution control programs to reduce the discharge of pollutants into those waters. Impaired waters TMDL Tracking System

WATERS Directory

WATERS links program databases.

How does WATERS use geography to integrate Water Program data?

What is the design structure of WATERS?
Each step in this process builds upon the one before it, so the information should be consistent from one database to another. But it is difficult to share and compare the information that is stored in separate Water Program databases. Now with WATERS we can integrate the information based upon location, which enables us to examine overlaps, identify gaps and analyze inconsistencies between the different Water Program databases. WATERS also enables EPA to perform national and regional analyses across states and to examine border issues.

Often the results from one database alone cannot tell the whole story. WATERS enables the user to bring all the pieces together and form a more complete picture. The ability to tie together all of this information increases EPA's depth of analysis and understanding of the causes and sources of impaired waters and provides new insights into how to improve water quality.

WATERS empowers EPA's Office of Water to meet its goal under the Clean Water Act of achieving Clean and Safe Water.

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