The mission of the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KDEP), Division of Water (DOW) is to manage, protect, and enhance the quality and quantity of the Commonwealth’s water resources for present and future generations through voluntary, regulatory, and educational programs. The management and dissemination of data for these purposes continues to challenge the division. The watermaps.ky.gov site was designed to make DOW’s geospatial information more accessible both internally and to the public. Everyone now has access to a wide range of data related to water, can view it spatially on a map, and then can use those data to make determinations on a variety of regulatory, educational, recreational, and health-related issues.
- The Water Health Portal is an interactive map featuring the status of all assessed waters, Outstanding State Resource waters, and Total Maximum Daily Load waters. It includes supporting documentation in plain language, and waterway specific information accessed from an interactive map.
- The RiskMAP Portal provides the public with a means to access the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and the supporting hydraulic and hydrologic data used to develop the FIRMs, enabling stakeholders to determine if, or how much, flood insurance coverage is mandatory under the National Flood Insurance Program.
- The Harmful Algal Bloom viewer provides the latest information on the status of HAB recreational health advisories in the Commonwealth. Advisories are based on potential public health risks from algal toxins found in Kentucky’s lakes and rivers.
- The Drought Viewer allows the public to see current drought conditions by county, and provides detailed information on the severity of drought conditions.
- The Story Map Gallery informs the public of wild rivers, wetlands and watershed issues throughout the Commonwealth.
- The Kentucky Watershed Viewer offers up a wide variety of information regarding the Commonwealth’s Watersheds Data layers available include: river flow data, DOW Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitted facility locations, water withdrawal sites, karst trace flows, and much more.
Results to Date:
- Cost savings due to:
- Decreased staff time spent releasing data by individual request;
- Decreased staff time spent explaining information to the public; and
- Rethinking and streamlining processes in order to provide the quantity of complex data in a format that public can easily and quickly consume
- Positive reviews on individual portals:
- Page One Kentucky: “This is an example of state government getting something right”
- Kentucky Chamber of Commerce: “I cannot thank your team enough for listening to our concerns and needs upfront to get this project right the first time. This truly will be a tool that businesses of all sizes will utilize across the state.”
- Data transparency improves data quality. The public points out inconsistencies that can then be corrected.
- Improved relationships between DOW and the people and businesses it serves.
Project Lead for Water Maps Portal
Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection