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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Browning-aiken, A.
item Varady, R.
item Goodrich, David - Dave
item Richter, H,
item Sprouse, T.
item Shuttleworth, J.

Submitted to: The Role of Hydrological Information in Water Law and Policy: Current Practice and Future Potential
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2004
Publication Date: 10/1/2006
Citation: Browning-Aiken, A., Varady, R.G., Goodrich, D.C., Richter, H., Sprouse, T., Shuttleworth, J. 2006. Integrating science and policy for water management: A case study of the Upper San Pedro River Basin. In: Hydrology and Water Law —Bridging the Gap: A Case Study of HELP Basins, ed. by J. S. Wallace and P. Wouters. IWA Publishing, p. 24-59.

Interpretive Summary: Arid and semi-arid regions account for approximately one-third of the land mass of earth. These regions are experiencing continued pressure from population growth in many parts of the world. Water is a critical resource in these regions and is often in short supply. To maintain the economic, social, and ecological viability of these areas it is essential that decision makers and resource managers have a solid scientific basis on which to make watershed based decisions. This chapter describes a long-term effort in with the USDA-ARS and USGS have worked closely with decision makers in the Upper San Pedro Watershed in Sonora, Mexico, and southeastern Arizona via the Upper San Pedro Partnership (USPP). The UNESCO Hydrology for the Environment, Life, and Policy (HELP) program has the goal of establishing a global network of watersheds that have demonstrated and a working link between scientists and watershed policy and decision makers. Because of the efforts of the USPP, the San Pedro has be named an operational HELP watershed.

Technical Abstract: The international water community has drawn attention to the importance of integrated water resources management as arguably the most effective means of sustaining economic and social welfare while protecting the health of vital ecosystems. Ministers and other influential decision-makers have expressed a deep concern that at the beginning of the 21st century 1.2 billion people live without access to safe drinking water, and that almost 2.5 billion have no access to proper sanitation. One reaction to this call for more effective management has been the Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy initiative, or HELP. HELP has created a framework that enables water-law and policy experts, water-resources managers, and scientists to work together on water-related problems. The HELP initiative is establishing a global network of catchments that have demonstrated an operational link between research scientists and policymakers for watershed management. This chapter presents empirical evidence from a case study of a functioning HELP basin in the Upper San Pedro region of northern Sonora and southeastern Arizona. We argue that transboundary cooperation in policymaking and water management is most effective when hydrologists help watershed groups understand the processes controlling water quality and quantity, and when water managers and stakeholders connect these processes to social, economic, and legal issues.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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