In today’s world, we are overwhelmed with the availability of information of all kinds in the media and on the Internet. A constant barrage of data and information numb the senses. Yet buried in all the talk, news articles, and websites are important messages about water resources that are critical to our future and the welfare of our global society.
Water information is not equally valuable. Some information is more relevant, some of higher priority, and some more technically relevant depending upon the audience and the problem being addressed. The way in which information is transferred to different audiences using images, graphics, case studies, and other mechanisms is critical to contributing to scientifically sound decision-making and to providing water information that is accessible to all.
Another question we should consider is why we disseminate water information? Much information is aimed at water managers, decision makers, and policy makers. However, information should also be directed to the public-at-large to increase public participation in water management as a process. We also disseminate information to enable water users to perform their activities according to “new rules” regarding water quality and quantity, and the evolution of legal and institutional frameworks. Finally, we disseminate information to build awareness in society of the advances made in the Integrated Water Resources Management process, to strengthen water management systems, and to pass on an assessment of progress in mitigating water problems.
As the IWRM process advances and is widely implemented in the Americas, the focus of information dissemination also must change to keep up with national, state, and local basin needs. This working group will examine the actions that we as water information specialists can take to expedite and facilitate the transfer of water information tailored to specific audiences to achieve specific goals. The working group will examine the current state of the art as demonstrated by papers and case studies presented at WIS-9 and will make specific recommendations as to how the current situation can be improved, specifically in the Americas and more broadly in the rest of the world, and who is (or should be) responsible for carrying out these recommendations.
- Who are the key audiences that we should be serving in each phase of the process of implementing IWRM?
- What obstacles or roadblocks are there to communication with these groups?
- What strategies can be used to transfer information to these groups in each phase of the process of implementing IWRM?