Center for Research Libraries - Global Resources Network

Resources for


The issues surrounding the use, supply, and management of water are of growing in importance to the academic, policy, and business communities. Water issues permeate a number of related areas (agriculture, environment, geology) and inform countless research areas in the Humanities and Social Sciences (including history, political science, cultural studies, law, public policy, etc).

A variety of types of organizations produce, collect, and distribute water resource data. These organizations include federal, state, regional, local government agencies, NGOs, development organizations, for-profit service and consulting firms, and others. The aims of these organizations and the methods they employ vary widely. Primary source material related to water comes in many forms and formats, including (but not limited to):

  • Documents (technical reports; statistical summaries; maps; photographs; agency records; legal documents, agreements, and compacts; and certain agency publications and reports)
  • Data (tabular compilations of measurements, census information, statistical compilations; spatial information from observation station measurements; shapefiles; GIS-enabled data sets) in print and electronic format.
  • Applications and tools measure, study, and utilize the output of the above.

The principal challenge for librarians and archivists is how to identify, utilize, and integrate the growing body of data produced in the abovementioned formats. Archival collections and data sets are managed and used in fundamentally different ways, challenging seamless use by researchers. While current reports and data are increasingly made accessible online by the various producing agencies, those agencies’ practices and policies on retention and availability of non-current information vary. Even where information is online for public use, the lack of uniformity of standards, display methods, and application of metadata make it extremely difficult for users to discover potentially relevant information.

A growing awareness of these challenges have led to progress in the presentation and management of water-related resources, as seen in collaborative projects such as the Western Waters Digital Library and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI) Hydrologic Information System. However, greater attention to common standards, services, and long-term management policies are needed to provide for the needs of scholars, researchers, and policy makers.

CRL Collections

    CRL’s holdings of water resources include numerous government reports, historical studies, and related dissertations. CRL’s collection includes both materials produced in the United States and international resources related to water conservation, watershed development policies, and water quality. Secondary source materials include numerous journals covering hydrology, water development, and urban planning. While not a principal area of collecting focus, CRL’s resources supplement collections held by its member libraries. CRL continues to acquire resources in this area through ongoing subscription to periodicals and dissertations acquired on demand.

    The references below feature some strengths of CRL’s holdings. Links point to more detailed descriptions in our catalog, as well as digital versions of the content or digitized finding aids for microfilm where available.


    Sahel, Documents and Dissertations
    Sahel Documentation Center
    University Microfilms Intl

    This collection assembled by the Sahel Documentation Center at Michigan State University consists of conference and meeting papers; reports from NGO, private, and quasi-governmental institutions; and dissertations on agricultural planning and development, natural resources management, and water control. The approximately 1,000 titles are cataloged individually and available via CRL’s catalog.

    Catalog Record · Guide

    Government Publications

    Irish University Press series of British parliamentary papers. Urban areas: Water supply
    Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons
    Irish University Press

    This reprint set of British parliamentary papers focuses on issues of water supply in England and Great Britain, collected in nine volumes covering years 1821–1900.

    Catalog Record

    International collections

    Water Conflicts, Jordan River, West Bank
    Middle East Microform Project

    The Middle East Microform Project (MEMP) has captured numerous reports relating to water issues and conflicts in the Middle East, filmed as part of MEMP’s Library of Congress Arabic Pamphlet Collection. An example includes resources related to the Jordan River dispute, a contributing factor to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

    Catalog Record

    Reports and proceedings

    Report of the Proceedings of the Annual Convention
    Atlantic Deeper Waterways Association

    A collection of reports from the Atlantic Deeper Waterways Association, which was founded in 1907 to promote the construction of a series of canals linking the natural bays and sounds along the Atlantic seaboard. The Association worked closely with government agencies in the promotion and development of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

    Catalog Record
    WAPDA Annual Report
    Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority

    CRL holds numerous reports and periodicals from the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) as well as the fortnightly bulletin of the East Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (EPWAPDA) (now the Bangladesh Water Development Board). WAPDA was established in February 1958 to unify the maintenance of power and water infrastructure in Pakistan previously overseen by provincial agencies. The organizations were instrumental in the development of several large water sector programs in the region.

    Catalog Record

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