The Basic Network

The worth of the data that derive from a network is a function of the uses that subsequently are made of them. Nevertheless, many of the uses of hydrological data are not apparent at the time of the network design and, therefore, cannot be used to justify the collection of specific data that ultimately may be of great valve. In fact, few hydrological data would be collected ifea preori economic justifications were required. However, modern societies have developed a sense that information is as commodity that, pike insurance, should be purchased for protection against an uncertain future. Such an investment in the case of hydrological data is the basic network, which is established to provide hydrological information for unanticipated future water-resources decisions. The basic network should provide a level of hydrological information at any location within its region of applicability that would preclude any gross mistakes in water-resources decision making. To accomplish this aim, at least three criteria must be fulfilled:

  1. A mechanism must be available to transfer the hydrological information from the sites at which the data are collected to any other site in the area;
  2. A means for estimating the amount of hydrological information (or, conversely, uncertainty) at any site must also exist; and
  3. The suite of decisions must include the option of collecting more data before the final decision is made.