2B.6 An assessment of perception, use, need for, and capacity to integrate climate information among water managers in the ACF Basin

Monday, 18 July 2011: 2:45 PM
Swannanoa (Asheville Renaissance)
Jessica Bolson, University of Florida, Miami, FL; and N. E. Breuer, C. J. Martinez, P. Srivastava, N. L. Engle, T. Borisova, and P. N. Knox

Challenges, including multi-year droughts, floods, and associated water management decisions have long concerned water managers in Western states. Similar concerns are now facing water managers in Southeastern states, including those in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. Specifically, water resource management concerns have been increasing in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin where the three states share water resources. Despite recent advances in seasonal climate forecasts, which have been shown to have potential benefits for management of impacts from seasonal climate variability, water managers have been slow to incorporate forecasts into decision making. A number of factors have been attributed to the slow rate of forecast adoption, including limited relevance of forecasts, perceptions of poor reliability, risk behaviors and perceptions, and institutional constraints. This work has shown that the decision making context is critical to the development of relevant scientific products and to the adaptive capacity of water management agencies. Therefore regional assessment of potential users of climate information is essential to the provision of tailored information and decision support tools.

This paper presents the first phase of such an assessment in the ACF Basin. The goal of this assessment is to improve our understanding of the current uses of, needs for, and perceptions of weather and climate information in the ACF Basin. The project will allow us to identify gaps in diagnostic and forecast information currently available and to characterize both barriers and bridges to integrating forecasts into decision making. The paper highlights the results from a survey of the information use and needs of water resource managers in the ACF region. Theoretical indicators of adaptive capacity and strategies for coping with and learning from climate impacts are also examined. Survey responses are analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively and will be used to organize and prepare in-depth interviews. Ultimately this information will be used to inform the development of forecast and drought monitoring tools, and to enhance interactions between scientists of the Southeast Climate Consortium (SECC) and end-users of the decision support products they develop.

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