Before using the WBT, we recommend that you review the instructions below. Please contact us if you have additional questions.
To register, create an account through the WBT's simple registration process. There are three types of WBT users:
- Individual water system (access to a single water system)
- District or LPA (access to all systems under within that district or LPA's jurisdiction)
- State (access to all water systems)
Please register for the appropriate user type based on the minimum access that you need. During registration, you are given the opportunity to select your desired water system or district/LPA. Once your registration is approved and you access your Water System List page, you then have the opportunity to register for additional districts, LPAs, and individual water systems.
Your registration request will be sent to the appropriate authorizing entity. You will receive an email notification when your registration has been approved. At that time, you will be asked to create your password. Afterward, you may begin using the tool to upload, draw or retire your water system boundaries.
Because most users must be approved by a representative of the associated district or LPA, we cannot predict the timeframe for approval. If you have been waiting more than 72 hours for approval, please contact us.
Creating Boundary Records
You can create or edit a boundary by uploading a compressed/zipped shapefile. For use by the water tool, the compressed/zipped shapefile must minimally be comprised of the following four component files:
- Shapefile shape format (.shp)
- Shapefile shape index format (.shx)
- Shapefile attribute format (.dbf)
- Shapefile projection format (.prj)
Your shapefile can include any number of records that have POLYGON or MULTIPOLYGON shapes. Please do not upload shapefiles with records that have LINE, MULTILINE, POINT, MULTIPOINT or LINESTRING shapes.
After the boundary record is created, you can edit the boundary immediately or at a later time (see Editing an uploaded file, below). If further editing is not needed, mark the record as "Complete"; if the polygon represents the water system's current boundary, mark the record as "Current", then select Save and Continue or Save and Exit.
If there are multiple records for a single water system, only one can be "Current". However, do not delete records that represent the water system in the past. Instead, please input a "Valid to" date to retire records that are no longer current, so that these records are maintained and available if historical data research are needed. Unless you are unable to say with absolute certainly that a record does not represent the water system boundary in any of its past or present forms, please do not delete it. Instead, retire it by inputting a "Valid to" date based on your best guess and contact us to flag the record for internal review.
You can create a boundary record with a KML file. A KML file will display geographic data in Google Earth. Based on the XML standards, a user can access My Maps to create a KML of their service area boundary.
After the boundary record is created, you can edit the boundary immediately or at a later time (see Editing an uploaded file, below). If further editing is not needed, mark it as "Complete" and "Current", and save the record.
If there are multiple records for a single water system, only one can be "Current." However, do not delete records that represent the water system in the past. Instead, please indicate the "valid to" dates to RETIRE records that are no longer current, so that these records can be maintained and available if historical data research are needed. However, if a record does not accurately represent the water system boundary in any of its past or present forms, please please DO NOT delete it, instead, RETIRE it.
From the water system records page, select "Draw" from the "Add a record" menu on the upper right side of the screen. This will open the drawing tool.
- To Move the Map: Select on the upper right side of the map. You can use this to move the map to the water system location.
- To Draw a Polygon: Select on the upper right side of the map. Click on the map in the appropriate location to begin drawing your polygon. Click and move your mouse and the pointer to create as many points (square nodes) as necessary- they will be connected by a line. To close the polygon, connect the last node to the first node by clicking on the first node once. You can also double-click and the polygon will close automatically by creating a line to the first node.
- To Move a Node: Select on the upper right side of the map. Next, select one of the polygon's round nodes and, drag it to the correct location, and release. The node will change from to when it is selected (otherwise, you will end up panning on the map). You can undo a move by clicking which will appear after dragging the node.
- To Create a Node: Each time you move a node (see above), two nodes are created on either side of it.
- To Add a Polygon: The WBT enables you to draw multiple polygons per boundary. The polygons do not need to overlap. Select on the upper right side of the map to draw a new polygon.
- To Delete a Polygon: Only Delete a polygon if what was just drawn is incorrect and difficult to modify. Please do not delete an existing record, RETIRE it instead and create a new record
- To Exclude an Area within a Polygon (make a "donut hole"): The WBT editing tool does not currently enable users to exclude areas within a polygon (make a "donut hole"). However, it can be done but may result in more lines than necessary. A different boundary creation interface, such as Google My Maps or other GIS programs, can get used to create such a boundary.
If you are creating a boundary to reflect new changes to the customer service area, make sure to retire the older record first. Do not delete the older record. In the Editing mode of the older record, specify the "valid to" date to RETIRE it. Select the button "No, this represents a time in the past", please enter notes in the Additional notes field describing why this retired record is NOT the most Current. The record will still be available after it is retired.
On the water system?s records page, click (Enter boundary or view other options) under Actions in the records table for the existing record you wish to Copy. In the editing window, select "Copy" from the "More Actions" button. Follow the prompts to create a new file containing a copy of the existing boundary record. When created, the new boundary record opens automatically in the Editing mode. Proceed with editing as described above, specify the "Valid from" date for the new record, mark the new record "Complete" and "Current". Please enter notes in the Additional notes field describing why the new record is the most Current and Complete and the origins of the new data
Editing Boundary Records
A newly uploaded file may be edited using the drawing functions. After you upload a file, the WBT will automatically open with the boundary in the Editing mode for you to review and edit as needed. Proceed with editing as described above. If the boundary needs editing, but you wish to do this later, save the record and do not mark it as complete. You may edit it at a later date, preferably within the month the data was uploaded (see Editing an existing boundary, below).
If further editing is not needed, save the record and mark it as "Complete" and "Current" (unless the record represents a historical boundary that existed in the past).
If there are multiple records for a single water system, only one can be "Current." However, do not delete records that represent the water system in the past. Instead, please indicate the "valid to" dates to RETIRE records that are no longer current. These records are maintained and available if historical data are needed for research. Even if a record does not accurately represent the water system boundary in any of its past or present forms, please RETIRE it, do not delete any data.
If you are actively working to create a boundary, but are not able to complete it in one sitting, you may save the record and continue editing it at a later date (preferably within one month of the creation of the record). Your record can also be edited by multiple users, as long as they are approved for that water system. Once you have finished your edits, mark the new record as "Complete" and "Current" (unless the record represents a historical boundary that existed in the past).
However, do not edit an existing boundary record to reflect new changes to a water system's service area. Instead, RETIRE this existing record by inputting a "Valid To" date and use the Copy function to create a new record, which you can then edit.
Managing Your Records
Water system service areas can change over time. Some common ways they can change are through the addition of new building developments, consolidations, or changes in ownership. The Water Boundary Tool enables you to enter the time period for which the boundary applies (called "Valid From" and "Valid To") using the editing window. This will help keep track of changes to your water system service area over time. This information is also very important for enabling future scientific research, so create a new record for each update that occurs (versus editing an existing record).
Guidelines and Suggestions:
- When to create a new record: Create a new boundary record when a change occurs to your service area boundary. Specify the time period for which the boundary applies by filling in the "Valid From" date when saving the record. This time period should be mutually exclusive from the time period of any other boundary record. Also, remember to change the "Valid To" date of the previous boundary record so that it is one day earlier than the "Valid From" date of this new boundary record.
- Specificity: We are trying to track changes at a monthly or annual scale, so there is no need to make separate records to characterize daily changes. For example, instead of creating a new record for each new connection brought online in a large housing development, wait until the development project is finished. Then create a new boundary record with a "Valid From" date that is approximate to the project completion date.
- Determining the "Valid From" date: The "Valid From" date should reflect your best estimate of the starting date of the time period for which the boundary is valid. It does not need to be exact. If you only have one boundary record entered for your water system, and you are unsure of the starting date that the service area was valid, use the date you are uploading the data.
- Determining the "Valid To" date: The "Valid To" date should reflect your best estimate of the ending date of the time period for which the boundary is valid. In nearly all cases, you should only enter a value for the "Valid To" date of a boundary record if there is another record reflecting a more current boundary. If you only have one boundary record entered for your water system, and you are unsure of the ending date that the service area was valid or if it is still current, you can leave this blank.
Marking a record as "Current" indicates that the record best represents the current customer service area boundaries for the water system. Only one record per water system can be marked current, and you can specify this in the Editing mode from the water system records page when you are logged in.
Once you are certain that the boundary is accurate and needs no further editing, mark the boundary record as "Complete". A notification will be sent to the appropriate district/ LPA representative for verification of the boundary.
While the WBT allows you to revert back to labeling the record as not complete, only do so if you have made an error and need to fix that boundary. However, if you are making changes to reflect a new update to your customer service area, please create a new record. Leave records representing past (historical) boundaries marked as complete and enter a Valid To date to RETIRE the past boundary. Do not delete past boundaries.
If a water system becomes inactive or its service area changes, RETIRE the record by adding a "Valid To" date and making sure it is NOT marked as "current." Please do not delete the record.
To document past or current changes to a service area boundary, create additional records by copying and editing an existing record or by uploading a digital file. Remember to update the Valid From/To dates for all records as needed and indicate the record that best represents the current water system boundary by marking that record as "Current".
If a service area boundary that you did not create is incorrect or the boundary itself is in dispute, create another record with the correct/different boundary. Then coordinate with the other users to determine which boundary is most accurate. Then RETIRE the less accurate boundary and mark the correct boundary "Complete".
One of the goals of the WBT is to collect current and historic data on water system boundaries, so it is important that you do not delete records when your water system customer service areas change or if the system becomes inactive. Instead, update the "Valid From/To" dates as appropriate, keep all RETIRED records marked as "complete", and indicate the current record.
You may delete files if you have made a mistake when creating a boundary and would like to start over. You may also delete files if there are multiple versions representing the same time period with the same polygon. In this case, keep the most accurate boundary and mark it as "Complete".
You can download a KML or shapefile of your water system boundary immediately once it is saved to the tool. You can do this on the Download page, which also allows you to download the entire WBT dataset, or a subset. The dataset for download is real time, so all uploads, drawing, or editing is captured and saved as they are occurring.