Workshop Report/Summary

Proper management of water resources has become a critical issue, driven by population growth, urbanization, changing land use patterns, and climate change. The Water and Environmental Research Systems (WATERS) Network, proposed for funding through the National Science Foundation, is one initiative that could provide advances in basic science needed to respond effectively to that challenge. The WATERS Network would integrate hydrologic observatories and experimental facilities across the United States, linking them with high-performance computing and telecommunications networks.

This National Research Council report, sponsored by National Science Foundation, finds that the WATERS Network Science Plan outlines a compelling vision for ways in which new, integrative hydrologic, engineering, and social science research can help address pressing water management concerns while advancing water science and education. However, the argument for the need to construct a simultaneously operated national observatory network is less convincing. The report recommends that the WATERS team bolster its case for a national network or consider other funding mechanisms that would allow phased construction. The WATERS team should also coordinate and collaborate with related government and nongovernment agencies and organizations at an early stage.