This request is a collaboration with Maddy Varner of The Markup.

42 U.S. Code § 10368, introduced by the Secure Water Act of 2009, requires the Secretary of the Interior to establish a “national water availability and use assessment program.”

The law requires the program to include “the maintenance of a comprehensive national water use inventory to enhance the level of understanding with respect to the effects of spatial and temporal patterns of water use on the availability and sustainable use of water resources[,]” as well as “the integration of any dataset maintained by any other Federal or State agency into the dataset maintained by the Secretary[.]”

Our FOIA request 📄 to the Department of the Interior (DOI) seeks a full copy of all database records corresponding to that inventory and those dataset integrations. It also seeks all relevant database documentation.

Note: We sent our initial FOIA request 📄 (tracking number DOI-OS-2023-002629) to DOI’s Office of the Secretary, which said it had no responsive records but suggested we resubmit to the US Geological Survey (USGS). See the updates section below for details.

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