A recent editorial written by Charles Fishman of the New York Times emphasized the need for nationally-reported water data to improve the nation’s water security. Segmented regions across the United States collect and analyze water data annually; however, the lack of data on a national-scale hinders the advancement of water management.
Currently, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is the only source of nationally collected water data provided by the government. The report, Estimated Use of Water in the United States, is published every five years and analyzes one year of water data. While the USGS annually reports state specific water use, this data is only compiled into a national report every five years. Although the USGS has begun to collect, analyze and report water use data publicly, there are many strides that can be made to close the gaps in information to create transparency for U.S. water consumption and applications. 
According to their website, the USGS, overseen by the Department of the Interior (DOI), released the last national water use data report in November 2014.  This report analyzed water use from 2010 and took 4 years to complete. Although a national water use data tool is available, the gap in time for which it takes to collect the data and publish the report has its consequences. Within that gap of time, between 2010 and 2014, the nation has undergone significant threats to its water supplies due to drought, groundwater pollution, infrastructure failures, and rising rates that all greatly impact the daily lives of citizens.
During the energy crisis of the 1970’s, the U.S. experienced similar challenges because the energy sector also lacked an in-depth energy use data collection reporting tool. Because of this issue, in 1977 Congress created the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to become better informed about the state of the nation’s dwindling energy sources. The EIA is a statistical agency under the Department of Energy (DOE) and tasked with collecting, curating and analyzing every facet of our nation’s energy use. This taskforce generates intelligent energy data from which our communities, states and federal government can make informed public policy decisions. Additionally, the EIA serves to educate the public on the nation’s energy use including the interaction with the economy and the environment.
Fishman of the New York Times highlighted that improving this system of water use requires quantitative data to be augmented by a collaborative approach between the public and private sectors.  Understanding the need for collaboration among all facets of the water sector, The White House hosted its first Water Summit on March 22. The nation’s foremost water experts in policy, technology and innovation came together to propose new solutions in water management highlighting the need for enhanced water use data (to know more about the summit, please read SW Commits to $500 M for 50 Eco-Engineered Water Reclamation & Reuse Systems).
Similar to how the EIA has helped shape the nation’s energy securities, water professionals are emphasizing the need for a comprehensive water data management program thereby creating a sustainable and secure water future. According to Michael Webber, deputy director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, “the water problem is daunting. But…increasing the availability of information and doubling down on innovation can go a long way toward solving it.” 
 United States Department of Energy. What is EIA? And What Does it Do? United States Department of Energy. http://energy.gov/articles/what-eia-and-what-does-it-do
 Fishman, Charles. Water is Broken. Data Can Fix It. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/opinion/the-water-data-drought.html
 Webber, Michael. Our Water System: What a Waste. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/opinion/our-water-systemwhat-a-waste.html