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Water in California: Information Needs

Guide to support Quantitative Assignment #2

Identifying Information Needs

What information do we need?
Water Use Water Conservation Water Context in California
How much water do we use for X (activity, purpose ...)? What measures can we take to reduce water use? What factors do we need to consider as we make water conservation choices in the state?

Recommended Databases / Search Engines


Search Academic Search Complete, GreenFILE, and Newspaper Source together.

Newsbank is another newspaper source.  You can limit to California newspapers.  Remember to use the date limiter and sort by Best match.

Google may give access to information not included in the databases.  In particular, look for data using this search engine.

Search Tips - Compare Database & Web Searching

Search Strategies & Database/Search Engine Functionality
Strategy or Functionality


Database Searching

Web Searching


Include words that capture your main idea(s)

Example: water usage california

Example: water usage california

"Phrase Searching"

Search for 2 or more words in a specific order

Example: "water usage"

Example: "water usage"


connecting words

OR joins similar terms

AND joins dissimilar terms


"water usage" OR "water use"





("water usage" OR "water use") manufacturing

Variants of Words

Find variations of a word


includes word variations or automatic stemming when a word is truncated and an asterisk is added

Example: irrigat* finds irrigate, irrigates, irrigation ...

includes word variations or automatic stemming when words are NOT in quotation marks

Example: micro-irrigation


Date filter

Narrow to recently published sources


irrigat* AND almonds

See Publication Date 2015 to 2017


irrigation almonds

Click Tools > Anytime > Past Year

Create Citations Create a citation in a desired citation format

Click on the title of the article. Look at the right for "Cite."

(Regular Google no; yes IF Google Scholar)


EasyBib (includes newspaper article, report etc. MLA is free)

bibme (Find feature, type in URL)

MLA 8 - Electronic Sources (OWL Purdue)

APA - Electronic Sources (OWL Purdue)

Permanent URLs Return to the article with a saved URL

Click on the title of the article. Look at the right for Permalink.


Copy URL in browser to return to the web page or source.

Broader Search Strategy & Sample Searches

Water Use - How much water do we use for X (activity, purpose ...)?

  • Strategy: Pair the phrase "water use" (or similar phrase) with the activity that requires water or the place you are researching.
    • Example: "water use" aquaculture [Google]
    • Example: "water usage" california [Google]
    • Example: water use data california [Google]

Water Conservation - What measures can we take to reduce water use?

Water Context in California - What factors do we need to consider as we make water conservation choices in the state?

  • Strategy: Brainstorm keywords that may tell you more about California's water system.  You may want to know more about demographics, climate, water distribution, primary water sources etc...
    • Example: "water use" hydrologic regions [Google]


Related Terms

"water use"

  • "water usage"
  • "water consumption"
  • "water requirements"

"water reduction"

  • reduce
  • limit
  • minimize
  • mitigate / mitigation
  • conserve / conservation
  • save / saving
  • "water use efficiency"


  • reclaim
  • reuse

residential uses (more specifics)

  • urban
  • lawns
  • toilets
  • landscape watering
  • drought resistant plants
  • water use monitoring
  • tiered water rates
  • turf replacement / fake grass
  • household use
  • water use per household
  • fixture (low) flow rates


  • irrigation
  • water intensive crops
  • crop yields
  • livestock
  • low pressure drip systems
  • micro-irrigation
  • soil water sensors


  • industrial facilities
  • manufacturing
  • food processing
  • metal finishing
  • thermoelectric power generation
  • mining


  • schools
  • hotels
  • hospitals
  • restaurants
  • golf courses


  • city pools
  • parks
  • firefighting
  • sports fields
  • cemeteries


  • fish
  • aquaculture
  • wildlife preserves
  • wetlands
  • delta outflow

water context

  • hydrologic regions
  • climate
  • demographics
  • water distribution
  • main water sources
  • water ecosystem



Locate a minimum of TWO resources that you anticipate using in your group project.  Ideally you will compare with your group members so that you are using different information sources.

Include the following information:

  1. Citation Information
  2. How did you locate this source? (includes your strategy and search tool)
  3. Which information need(s) does it meet?
    • provides information on water use in one or more areas
    • refers to a strategy for reducing water use
    • gives useful background information about California's water situation
  4. Why is this source useful to you? Explain.