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Our Journey Towards Sustainable Water Resources Management: Preliminary Report by Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable

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Abstract:

Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) has been a subgroup of the Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI) since 2001 and operates under authority of OMB M-92-01. The purpose of the Roundtable is to provide an open forum for exchanging ideas and information to foster collaboration on ways to manage water resources in such a way that the resource and its uses may be sustained over the long term. SWRR participants are committed to interdisciplinary, inter-jurisdictional, and cross-ownership collaboration that identifies and supports national, state, and field-level activities to sustain water resources.

Two earlier papers in this series described work leading up to the completion of this Preliminary Report. The present paper is a summary of the Preliminary Report that contains all the background about development of the conceptual framework, how sustainability indicators might be selected, and how the Nation's water resources can be described in terms of seventeen such indicators. The paper begins by describing the conceptual foundations that have been developed to aid in understanding sustainability. SWRR recognizes the importance of the 1987 Brundtland Commission definition, which relies on maintaining equity between generations to help define terms. Beyond this, however, SWRR embraces systems analytic concepts to sharpen the definition. Systems analysis divides each of these systems into progressively more disaggregate subsystems, which can then be tracked by indicators that will also show the interrelationships among the systems. Furthermore, SWRR grappled with the problem of how to choose indicators, and the report contains the criteria that were developed. In general, indicators should consider the condition and capacity of ecological, social, and economic systems; must focus on long-terms consequences; must include both substantial geographic and temporal scales; must be measurable and scientifically based; and, must not be so abstruse that the informed lay reader is unable to comprehend them. The long-term goals of SWRR include the development of principles, criteria and indicators to support decision-making and identification of opportunities for collaboration on research needs. The sustainable solutions to water resources problems can be found if people thoroughly understand the issues and how each aspect of the society contributes to them.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864706783751249

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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