News - Environmental Data and Analysis

Hurricane Florence dropped two to three feet of rain, causing major flooding along the Cape Fear, Lumberton, and Neuse rivers—destroying property and highlighting the limits of our country’s infrastructure, write Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Martin Doyle and Lauren Patterson in the News & Observer. 

Water infrastructure in the western United States was funded in the early and mid-20th Century by federal financing through the Bureau of Reclamation, but such financing has declined in recent decades and there has been increased interest in alternative approaches to infrastructure funding.

The United States is awash in water data—the power of which has yet to be unleashed. To realize the dormant value of the data, say some producers and users, would require making them widely shareable in standardized digital formats, thereby allowing their real-time aggregation for a host of purposes beyond those that spurred their original collection. They believe that opening the data and investing in water data infrastructure would set in motion a wave of innovation, leading to more sustainable management of our water resources.

Commenting for National Public Radio on a study in Science that reveals which parts of the United States are likely to suffer the most from climate change, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solution’s Billy Pizer says such research brings the threat into focus. “It’s important to figure out: Are we talking about something the size of a bread box or the size of an elephant or the size of a mouse?” he says. “And I think getting those sorts of magnitudes right, I think is really important, and I think that's what this paper does.”