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NAWQA Liaison Committee Meeting on Water Availability

Opening Remarks by Donna Myers, Chief, NAWQA Program

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Good morning and welcome to the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program National Liaison Committee meeting. Today we’re going to discuss a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) initiative that is just getting started, called Water for America.

In 2004, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences stated that “The strategic challenge for the future is to ensure that America has adequate water quantity and quality to meet human and ecological needs in the face of growing competition among domestic, industrial-commercial, agricultural, and environmental uses.”(National Research Council, 2004.) Yet no comprehensive census of water information, one that addresses the entire issue of the quantity and quality of freshwater critical to the human and environmental needs of the Nation, currently exists.

Water for America is part of a larger “Science Strategy for the Future” at USGS for addressing the most important and pressing earth-science issues before the Nation in the next decade (U.S. Geological Survey, 2008). In fact, Water for America was developed to specifically address one of the 6 themes in the 10-Year USGS Strategic Science Plan, specifically the theme called “A Water Census for the United States.” You may have heard something about this before, but we want to explain it more fully so that the terms are not confusing. Water for America is part of the Water Census for the United States.

All this information is critical to helping us document and evaluate the various aspects of water availability – its quantity, quality, and use.

Compiling and synthesizing water data not only helps Water for America to develop assessments of water availability, but also contributes to other USGS efforts like NAWQA. For example, the excellent water-use information in the High Plains Aquifer, which is collected much more frequently and in more detail than in other areas, allowed NAWQA to develop a much more meaningful and relevant water-quality assessment in that region of the Nation. We hope in the future to have additional high quality water-use information to improve our water-quality assessments.

At this point, Donna introduced Dr. Matthew Larsen, Associate Director for Water at USGS, who offered brief remarks about Water for America, USGS speakers and organizers (Pixie Hamilton, NAWQA Communications Coordinator; Carise Barbour, Program Analyst); Judy Campbell Bird (NAWQA National Liaison Committee Coordinator).

Now that we are all introduced, let me briefly explain our agenda:

Closing remarks:

Now you’ve heard from Eric, Kevin, and Tom who provided detailed information and examples of what would be addressed in Water for America.

I hope we’ve done a good job of answering your questions and discussing your ideas. We appreciate all your input and Eric (Evenson) will be incorporating your perspectives into the guidance we’ve received from our other partners in the initiative whom we have met with in similar venues.

Finally, I would ask that as you leave this session, you take these ideas with you:

Thank you for coming today and spending some time to learn about this important new USGS effort.

Cited references

National Research Council, 2004, Confronting the Nation's water problems: the role of research: Washington, D.C., 310 p.

U.S. Geological Survey, 2008, USGS Science in the Decade 2007-2017, Facing tomorrow's challenges - an Overview: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2008-3008, 4 p.

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