Harmonized Database of Western U.S. Water Rights (HarDWR) v.1

M. D. Lisk, D. S. Grogan, S. Zuidema, J. Zheng, R. Caccese, D. Peklak, K. Fisher-Vanden, R. B. Lammers, S. M. Olmstead, and L. Fowler

Scientific Data (6 June 2024)

DOI: 10.1038/s41597-024-03434-6


In the arid and semi-arid Western U.S., access to water is regulated through a legal system of water rights. Individuals, companies, organizations, municipalities, and tribal entities have documents that declare their water rights. State water regulatory agencies collate and maintain these records, which can be used in legal disputes over access to water. While these records are publicly available data in all Western U.S. states, the data have not yet been readily available in digital form from all states. Furthermore, there are many differences in data format, terminology, and definitions between state water regulatory agencies. Here, we have collected water rights data from 11 Western U.S. state agencies, harmonized terminology and use definitions, formatted them for consistency, and tied them to a Western U.S.-wide shapefile of water administrative boundaries.

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