Sandie Will is the Data Collection Bureau chief for the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Have you ever been interested in how much rain fell in your neighborhood after a summer storm? Or how high the water levels are at the lake where you launch your boat? The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) collects all that data and more. And what you might not know is all that data is easily available to the public. District Data Collection Bureau Chief Sandie Will explained how data is collected and why it’s important.

Q: What types of data does the District collect?

A: The District oversees, collects and analyzes numerous data for long-term monitoring trends and specific projects. Staff members collect data, including water levels, water quality, atmospheric, topographical survey, hydraulic and geologic data, following applicable state and federal guidelines. District scientists conduct water quality analyses in a certified laboratory and primarily test for chloride, sulfate and total dissolved solids.

Q: How does the District collect data?

A: The District collects data from monitor wells, springs, rain gauges and surface water bodies throughout the 16-county region. The District collects hydraulic data to understand specific features of the aquifer. Staff collects geologic data from land surface to approximately 3,000 feet below using a coring rig and that data is collected from the core holes to gain an understanding of the aquifer’s characteristics. Geologists study this information and use it to construct wells to monitor each aquifer. District staff also collect atmospheric data from rain gauges and water level and water quality data from groundwater and surface water sites, including lakes, rivers, wells and springs.

Q: How many data collection sites does the District monitor?

A: The District monitors water levels at more than 1,600 well sites and more than 800 surface water sites throughout the region. The District staff monitor rainfall at 170 sites; collect water quality samples from 82 spring sites, 226 surface water sites and 524 wells; and evaluate data collection at monitoring sites every three years, and those sites that are no longer needed are discontinued.

Q: Can the public see the District’s data collection? 

A: Yes, all of the data collected and mapped is available for download from the District’s Data and Maps website under the Resources tab on the District’s main webpage at WaterMatters.org.