Committee on the Review of Water and Environmental Research Systems (WATERS) Network

Water Science and Technology Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies



Washington, D.C.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
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Committee on the Review of Water and Environmental Research Systems (WATERS) Network Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C.

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T HE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special compe- tences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this study was provided by the National Science Foundation un- der grant number CBET-0715260. Any opinions, findings, or conclusions and recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-15313-3 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-15313-1 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 5th Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, Copyright 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal gov- ernment on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of out- standing engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encour- ages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engi- neers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineer- ing. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engi- neering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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COMMITTEE ON THE REVIEW OF THE WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH SYSTEMS (WATERS) NETWORK GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee MARY JO BAEDECKER, U.S. Geological Survey, Scientist Emeritus, Reston, Virginia YU-PING CHIN, Ohio State University, Columbus GLEN T. DAIGGER, CH2M Hill, Englewood, Colorado TONY R. FOUNTAIN, University of California, San Diego TIMOTHY K. KRATZ, University of Wisconsin, Boulder Junction RICHARD G. LAWFORD, Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada DANIEL P. LOUCKS, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York CHARLES R. O’MELIA, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland STEPHEN POLASKY, University of Minnesota, St. Paul NANCY N. RABALAIS, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Chauvin JOHN T. SCHOLZ, Florida State University, Tallahassee THOMAS C. WINTER, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado NRC Staff STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Study Director MICHAEL J. STOEVER, Research Associate v

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WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD CLAIRE WELTY, Chair, University of Maryland, Baltimore County YU-PING CHIN, Ohio State University, Columbus OTTO C. DOERING, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana JOAN G. EHRENFELD, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey GERALD E. GALLOWAY, University of Maryland, College Park CHARLES N. HAAS, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania KENNETH R. HERD, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Brooksville JAMES M. HUGHES, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia KIMBERLY L. JONES, Howard University, Washington, DC MICHAEL J. MCGUIRE, Michael J. McGuire, Inc., Los Angeles, California G. TRACY MEHAN, The Cadmus Group, Inc., Arlington, Virginia DAVID H. MOREAU, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill DENNIS D. MURPHY, University of Nevada, Reno THOMAS D. O’ROURKE, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York DONALD I. SIEGEL, Syracuse University, New York SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN, University of California, Irvine STAFF STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Scholar LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Program Officer STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Senior Program Officer LAURA E. HELSABECK, Program Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Financial and Administrative Associate ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Senior Program Associate ANITA A. HALL, Senior Program Associate MICHAEL J. STOEVER, Research Associate STEPHEN T. RUSSELL, Senior Program Assistant vi

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Preface For nearly a decade, a substantial group from the hydrologic sciences community has been engaged in discussions about formation of a net- work of hydrologic observatories. This coincided with a time when the National Science Foundation (NSF) was considering how to achieve the goals of “big-science” through environmental observing systems. With encouragement from NSF to proceed with plans for a network of hydro- logic observatories, the WATERS initiative was born in 2005. This committee reviewed the Draft Science, Education, and Design Strategy (SEDS) document in 2008 and criticized the absence of a clear scientific vision for the project. Between August 2008 and May 2009, a team of scientists and engineers, led by Professor Jeff Dozier, prepared a Science Plan presenting the vision for an observatory network. It was the privi- lege of the committee who prepared this report to review this WATERS Science Plan. The committee brought to its task a breadth of knowledge gained from experience with field research as well as from related scientific lit- erature and reports produced during the planning of hydrologic observa- tories. The WATERS Science Plan was read and reviewed within this broad contextual background. The committee benefited greatly from frank and open briefings provided by members of the WATERS team and by NSF leaders from three directorates, briefings that led to much greater appreciation of both the great potential for an observatory net- work and also some of the challenges associated with it. As chair of the committee, I thank the members of the committee for their hard work in preparing three reports, of which this is the final one, and for the way that everyone interacted with great good nature through- out our work together. This report, like all National Research Council (NRC) reports, was made possible by excellent staff work. My thanks to Michael Stoever for managing logistics for the committee and to Dorothy vii

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viii Contents Weir, who very ably served as study director for the committee for the first year and a half. I especially want to thank Stephanie Johnson for her major contributions to our work. Stephanie served as the study direc- tor for the interim and final reports. Special thanks are due for both edi- torial and substantive suggestions she made on the reports and for shep- herding the reports through the NRC publication process. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with the procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The pur- pose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical com- ments to assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The re- view comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following in- dividuals for their review of this report: A. ALLEN BRADLEY, University of Iowa JAMES R. GOSZ, University of Idaho WENDY D. GRAHAM, University of Florida SALLY MACINTYRE, University of California, Santa Barbara DAVID L. SEDLAK, University of California, Berkeley EDELLA C. SCHLAGER, University of Arizona Although the reviewers listed above have provided many construc- tive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the con- clusions and recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the re- port before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Mary Anderson, University of Wisconsin. Appointed by the NRC, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. George Hornberger, Chair Committee on the Review of Water and Environmental Research Systems (WATERS) Network

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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 6 Study Scope and Purpose of This Report, 8 2 EVALUATION OF THE WATERS NETWORK 12 SCIENCE PLAN Overarching Science Question, 13 The Three Grand Challenges, 13 Prototype Network, 18 Additional Benefits of the WATERS Network, 22 Future Challenges: Cyberinfrastructure, 24 Conclusions and Recommendations, 26 3 OBSERVATIONAL NETWORKS 28 The Network Idea, 28 Evaluation of the WATERS Network Science Plan Against Criteria for Networks, 34 Conclusions and Recommendations, 36 4 MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND 38 FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION Defining a Facility Under MREFC, 38 Case for Establishing the WATERS Network with MREFC Funding, 39 Conclusions and Recommendations, 42 5 INTEGRATION AND COORDINATION WITH 44 EXISTING NETWORKS ix

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x Contents Federal Agencies, 45 State and Local Agencies, 50 International, 52 Conclusions and Recommendations, 53 REFERENCES 55 APPENDICES A Letter Report Reviewing the WATERS Network 57 Science Plan B Committee and Staff Biographical Sketches 63