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Confronting the Nation’s Water Problems: The Role of Research
expenditures on water resources research. Several methods could potentially be utilized to gather and evaluate such budget information. Ultimately, the committee decided to rely on a format used for over ten years in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Beginning in 1965, the Committee on Water Resources Research (COWRR) of the Federal Council for Science and Technology (FCST), administered out of what was then the President’s Office of Science and Technology, began a yearly accounting of all water resources research conducted by the major federal agencies.2 Budget information, supplied by liaisons from relevant federal agencies, was compiled into ten major categories3 and up to 60 comprehensive subcategories of water resources research. The accounting occurred annually from 1965 to 1975 (except for 1971). The primary goal of COWRR was to facilitate coordination of the various federal research efforts, because it was recognized at that time that water resources research was spread widely throughout the federal enterprise (as it is today). It was also a goal of COWRR to ensure that there was no unnecessary duplication of research efforts, that research was appropriately responsive to current water problems, and that federal resources were available to help solve these problems (COWRR, 1973 and 1974). Nonfederal organizations were not included in the reports.
To compare the current budget information with expenditures on water resources research between 1965 and 1975, the committee adopted the FCCSET model of creating a survey for federal agency liaisons to respond to. The present survey includes most of the same categories and subcategories of water resources research as before, and it encompasses the same waterbodies: fresh, estuarine, and coastal. In January 2003, the survey was submitted to all of the federal agencies that either perform or fund water resources research and to several nonfederal organizations that had annual expenditures of at least $3 million during one of the fiscal years covered by the survey.
The survey consisted of five questions related to water resources research (see Box 4-1). As part of question 1, the liaisons were asked to report total expenditures on research in fiscal years 1999, 2000, and 2001, in order to allow a comparison to the FCCSET survey data of the past. The remaining four questions were posed to help give the committee a better understanding of current and projected future activities of the agencies, and to obtain a qualitative understanding of how research performance is measured. Unlike the data submitted in response to question #1, the answers to the latter questions in the survey are not evaluated in this report in a quantitative fashion.
Responses to the survey were submitted in written form and orally at the third meeting of the NRC committee, held April 29–May 1, 2003, in Washington,
In 1976, COWRR came under the aegis of the Federal Coordinating Council of Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET) of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
There were only nine major FCCSET categories from 1965 to 1970. A tenth (Scientific and Technical Information) was added in 1972.