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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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ENVISIONING THE AGENDA FOR WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Water Science and Technology Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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    NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance.

    This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

    Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy under agreement no. DE-FG02-93ER61547. Supported by the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, under assistance Award No. 99HQAG0052. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied of the U.S. Government. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. BES-0090087. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Support was also provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Grant No. CX-824694-01 and the Federal Emergency Management Agency under Award No. EMW-96-GR-0421.

    International Standard Book Number 0-309-07566-1

    Copies of this report are available from the Water Science and Technology Board, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20418

    Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences . All rights reserved.

    Printed in the United States of America.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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    THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

    Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

    National Academy of Sciences

    National Academy of Engineering

    Institute of Medicine

    National Research Council

    The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Brace Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

    The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

    The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

    The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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    WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD

    HENRY J. VAUX, Jr., Chair, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, Oakland

    RICHARD G. LUTHY, Vice-Chair, Stanford University, Stanford, California

    CAROL A. JOHNSTON, Vice-Chair, University of Minnesota, Duluth (through June 2000)

    RICHELLE M. ALLEN-KING, Washington State University, Pullman

    GREGORY B. BAECHER, University of Maryland, College Park

    JOHN S. BOYER, University of Delaware, Lewes (through June 2000)

    JOHN BRISCOE, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

    DENISE D. FORT, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (through June 2000)

    EFI FOUFOULA-GEORGIOU, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

    STEVEN P. GLOSS, University of Wyoming, Laramie

    WILLIAM A. JURY, University of California, Riverside

    GARY S. LOGSDON, Black & Veatch, Cincinnati, Ohio

    DIANE M. MCKNIGHT, University of Colorado, Boulder

    JOHN W. MORRIS, J.W. Morris Ltd., Arlington, Virginia

    PHILIP A. PALMER, (Retired) E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Wilmington, Delaware

    REBECCA T. PARKIN, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

    RUTHERFORD H. PLATT, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    JOAN B. ROSE, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

    JERALD L. SCHNOOR, University of Iowa, Iowa City

    R. RHODES TRUSSELL, Montgomery Watson, Pasadena, California

    ERIC F. WOOD, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (through June 2000)

    Staff

    STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director

    LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer *

    JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Senior Staff Officer

    MARK C. GIBSON, Staff Officer

    WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Staff Officer

    M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate

    PATRICIA A. JONES, Study/Research Associate

    ANITA A. HALL, Administrative Assistant

    ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Senior Project Assistant *

    ANIKE L. JOHNSON, Project Assistant

    NORA BRANDON, Project Assistant

    RHONDA BITTERLI, Editor

    *Project staff for this study/report

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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Preface

In this new century, the United States will be challenged to provide sufficient quantities of high-quality water to its growing population. Water is a limiting resource for human well-being and social development, and projections of population growth as well as changing social values suggest that demands for this resource will increase significantly. These projections have fueled concerns among the public and water resources professionals alike about the adequacy of future water supplies, the sustainability and restoration of aquatic ecosystems, and the viability of our current water resource research programs and our institutional and physical water resource infrastructures.

With the goal of outlining a roadmap to guide policymakers, the Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB) held a series of discussions at several of its meetings in 1998–2000 about the future of the nation's water resources and the appropriate research needed to achieve their long-term sustainability. From those discussions, the board produced this report, the objectives of which are to:

  • draw attention to the urgency and complexity of water resources issues facing the United States in the twenty-first century;

  • broadly inform decision makers, researchers, and the public about these issues and challenges;

  • identify needed knowledge and corresponding water resources research areas that should be emphasized immediately and over the long term; and

  • describe ways in which the setting of the water research agenda, the conduct of water research, and investments devoted to such research should be improved in the next few decades.

This report discusses major research questions related to the critical water issues that face the nation. It lays out an interdisciplinary research portfolio for the next 20 years and recommends agenda-setting processes that can maximize the nation's ability to prioritize and conduct water resources research.

Members of the WSTB come from numerous disciplines, including en

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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Page vi

gineering, physical sciences, life sciences and ecology, and social sciences ( Appendix A). Although the breadth of experience of the members is considerable, the water resources arena abuts and overlaps with many other disciplines and resource areas. Thus, in order to help assure that this report reflects a properly broad perspective, once the report was developed to WSTB members' reasonable satisfaction, we shared it with a number of other National Research Council (NRC) units for their informal evaluations and input. This proved helpful, enriching our report and heightening the resolve of WSTB regarding the report's contents. The contributions of the following NRC units are acknowledged and greatly appreciated: Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, and Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources.

More formally, the report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The reviews and draft manuscripts remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Richard Gersberg, San Diego State University; Charles Howe, University of Colorado; Perry McCarty, Stanford University; David Moreau, University of North Carolina; Carolyn Olsen, Brown and Caldwell; Kenneth Potter, University of Wisconsin; Phil Singer, University of North Carolina; and James Wescoat, University of Colorado.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Stephen Berry, University of Chicago and Gilbert White, University of Colorado. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the Water Science and Technology Board and the NRC.

Henry J. Vaux, Jr., Chair

Water Science and Technology Board

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, 1
1     INTRODUCTION, 5
2     WATER AVAILABILITY: QUANTITY AND QUALITY, 11
    Development of Supply Enhancing Technology, 12
    Water Quality: Fundamental and Applied Studies, 14
    Improving Hydrologic Forecasting and Prediction, 19
    Need for Adequate Hydrologic Data, 21
3     WATER USE, 24
    Determinants of Consumptive Water Use, 24
    Agricultural Water Use, 26
    Environmental Water Use, 30
4     WATER INSTITUTIONS, 33
    Legal and Political Issues, 33
    Economic Institutions, 36
    Emerging Social Science Issues, 38
5     ORGANIZING FOR WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, 42
    Proposal for a National Water Research Board, 44
    Conclusions, 45
REFERENCES, 50
APPENDIX
A     BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THE WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD MEMBERS, 55
Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10140.
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In this century, the United States will be challenged to provide sufficient quantities of high-quality water to its growing population. Water is a limiting resource for human well-being and social development, and projections of population growth as well as changing social values suggest that demands for this resource will increase significantly. These projections have fueled concerns among the public and water resources professionals alike about the adequacy of future water supplies, the sustainability and restoration of aquatic ecosystems, and the viability of our current water resource research programs and our institutional and physical water resource infrastructures.

With the goal of outlining a roadmap to guide policymakers, the Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB) held a series of discussions at several of its meetings in 1998-2000 about the future of the nation's water resources and the appropriate research needed to achieve their long-term sustainability. From those discussions, the board produced this report, the objectives of which are to:

  • draw attention to the urgency and complexity of water resources issues facing the United States in the twenty-first century;
  • broadly inform decision makers, researchers, and the public about these issues and challenges;
  • identify needed knowledge and corresponding water resources research areas that should be emphasized immediately and over the long term; and
  • describe ways in which the setting of the water research agenda, the conduct of water research, and investments devoted to such research should be improved in the next few decades.

This report discusses major research questions related to the critical water issues that face the nation. It lays out an interdisciplinary research portfolio for the next 20 years and recommends agenda-setting processes that can maximize the nation's ability to prioritize and conduct water resources research.

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