Waterlines: Confluence and Hope through Environmental Communication. The 15th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE). June 17-21, 2019, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Information-Needs of Water Managers in South-Central U.S.

Renee Edwards's picture
Edwards, Renee
Ryu, Jung-Hee
Hayhoe, Katherine
Keim, Barry
Category of presentation: 
Scholarly papers

Water is a critical resource in the South-Central U.S. and will become more so in the future. Currently available information on long-term precipitation trends is problematic for water and wastewater managers who should be consulted concerning their information-needs and preferences. This project, which surveyed water managers in Louisiana and Texas (n = 135), found that preferences for information are dependent on the specific water management task in a narrow time frame. Federal agencies followed by commercial internet organizations and local media are the most frequently used sources of information.  Intensity of drought and precipitation is more problematic for water systems than is the frequency of those events. Water managers prefer information on a short timescale and they positively evaluate interactive websites for precipitation projections. Water managers have perceptions and information-needs regarding long-range precipitation projections that, in some cases, are unique to their water system. Commercial sources and local media need to be as accurate as federal agencies in the information they provide. Developers should adapt climate tools to the needs and preferences of water managers, both in general and for specific systems.