Water Conservation and Hydrological Transitions in Cities

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 5:00 PM
George M Hornberger, Jonathan M Gilligan and David J. Hess, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, United States
A 2012 report by the National Research Council, Challenges and Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences, called for the development of “translational hydrologic science.” Translational research in this context requires knowledge about the communication of science to decision makers and to the public but also improved understanding of the public by the scientists. This kind of knowledge is inherently interdisciplinary because it requires understanding of the complex sociotechnical dimensions of water, policy, and user relations. It is axiomatic that good governance of water resources and water infrastructure requires information about water resources themselves and about the institutions that govern water use. This “socio-hydrologic” or “hydrosociological” knowledge is often characterized by complex dynamics between and among human and natural systems. Water Resources Research has provided a forum for presentation of interdisciplinary research in coupled natural-human systems since its inception 50 years ago. The evolution of ideas presented in the journal provides a basis for framing new work, an example of which is water conservation in cities. In particular, we explore the complex interactions of political, sociodemographic, economic, and hydroclimatological factors in affecting decisions that either advance or retard the development of water conservation policies.