improved communication between the science community, the public, and decision makers. Both reports emphasize behavioral change towards water uses, and adoption of new and existing conservation technologies as a means to solving current and future water demands. “Water conservation and efficiency are the greatest untapped sources of water in this nation – cheaper, cleaner, and more politically acceptable than any other alternative” (Gleick 2003). Protection and improvement of water resources through technology adoption and behavioral change often require efforts of outreach educators that go well beyond being purveyors of knowledge.
This paper focuses on the changing philosophy of outreach education in water resources science and management expanding from knowledge delivery towards greater behavior change and adoption—the result of outcome-based logic modeling pervasive throughout U.S. government agencies and the land-grant university based Cooperative Extension Service (CES). To promote these expanded outreach efforts, we need to acknowledge existing knowledge gaps regarding (Rosengrant et al., 2002):
The effects of shifting regional water use patterns on communities and ecosystems and uncertainty about the impacts on water supply from improved land treatment and ecosystem management;
Identification of appropriate incentives such as agricultural water pricing reform that protects farmers against capricious changes in water allocation, ensures that they benefit from water conservation efforts, and provides a basis for water trading among farmers and across sectors;
The ineffective and protracted dissemination of research to the farm;
Unknown decision-making processes and a general lack of integrated decision support systems that plague appropriate water use at the farm level
In response to the need for greater research, education and outreach, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (USDA CSREES) launched an initiative in 2004 entitled Agricultural Water Logic Model courtesy of McMaster University Health Sciences Library, Ontario, Canada (Dobrowolski and O’Neill, 2005). Agricultural water security maximizes the efficiency of water use by farmers, ranchers, rural and urbanizing communities, thus ensuring that water volumes are allocated for per capita domestic water consumption, ecosystem services, recreation and aesthetics while meeting the needs of food and fiber production. It requires an economic and social context, with a goal of sustainable agriculture—high yields coupled with well-being and water efficient farming that retains water