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3 Future WRD Technical Niches Public controversy surrounds many water resources problems. For example, reports of pesticide contamination of ground water have placed water consumers in opposition to agriculturalists. Often, calls for wetlands protection have set conservationists against developers. Concern about surface water quality has pitted fishermen against industrialists. Because of the mistrust on different sides of such problems, research into their solutions must come from an agency of scientific authority and public trust. The WRD has a reputation for conducting sound science while maintaining its objectivity. Objectivity, combined with databases that give the WRD a better overall view of water resources than any other agency, enables the WRD to move beyond the public controversy in researching strate ~ - ales tor managing water resources. This chapter reviews eight key water resources problems. It recommends how the WRD can direct its future activities to help address these problems. The discussion is not meant to be all- encompassing but to illustrate appropriate WRD roles in con- fronting currently recognized water resources challenges that involve several agencies and levels of government. The needs and opportunities for the agency's resources are clear. Indeed, the demand for these resources may exceed their availability--under- scoring the need for the agency to plan program development carefully. WELLHEAD/AQUIFER PROTECTION The increasing national concern about aquifer protection has led to legislation at all government levels that regulates land use 25

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26 i . . Pre paring for the Twenty-First Century in aquifer protection areas. Unfortunately, the current under- standing of what takes place in water beneath the earth's surface-- how it flows, how it transports contaminants, how it is affected by different land-use practices--falls short of public expectations. Potential roles for the WRD in advancing the understanding of ground water include: developing methods to identify critical recharge areas on small spatial scales; conducting research into theories and models to analyze and predict contaminant transport in different subsurface settings; investigating concepts and techniques for more efficient integration of data into comprehensive ground water models; directing prototype studies on the transfer of conceptual models to aquifer protection areas and the use of such models as management tools; upgrading techniques for gathering and maintaining the ground water data that are essential for model development, calibration, and validation; and guiding water managers in the appropriate use of data and models for managing aquifer protection areas. INTEGRATED WATER SUPPLY MANAGEMENT There is an emerging awareness among water supply managers that they must integrate considerations about water quality and quantity into management strategies. In California's Central Valley, for example, increasing water demand and decreasing supply create intense competition for water. To solve supply problems, managers need models that integrate scientific knowledge about water resources with public policy options for directing water use. A potential role for the WRD in the water supply area is analyzing how laws and institutions determine water use. CLIMATE CHANGE Increasingly, policymakers and water supply managers are becoming concerned about how potential global change could

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Future WRD Technical Niches 27 affect water supplies: about whether existing water supply facilities will stand up to extreme storms, about whether water supply networks will require new designs as water sources react to climate change, about whether there is enough water to meet future demand. To analyze the effects of globa1 change on water supplies, global change models must be improved. The existing models are too coarse in grid-size and lack adequate interfaces with hydrologic models. Existing models need to be refined and linked with regional models that have smaller grids. Potential roles for the WRD in upgrading global change models include: conducting prototype studies to examine how water resources in areas with different hydrologic characteristics and land-use patterns react to various climatic scenarios; improving the hydrologic component of global circulation models and the links between global circulation models and fine- grid regional models; and advancing the use of remote sensing and geographical information systems for linking land surface processes to atmo- spheric processes. WATER QUALITY With the increasing public concern about environmental pollution, water quality research will remain a high priority on the national agenda, as evidenced by the recent development of the NAWQA program. Potential roles for the WRD in water quality research (many of which are directly relevant to NAWQA) are: developing both an understanding of contaminant trans- port and models of transport processes; improving water quality sampling protocols; expanding national water quality data collection networks; analyzing the trends and relationships revealed by the data; and providing technical assistance in the interpretation of data and the use of models.

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Future WRD Technical Niches 29 tion is that definitions of what constitutes a wetland differ with regulatory jurisdictions. Another is that the functions of various types of wetlands in a given hydrologic basin are not well under- stood and are rarelY considered when permits for building on wetlands are issued. protection include: . ~ is Potential roles for the WRD in wetlands researching the functions of wetlands within a hydrologic basin and the potential impacts on the. basin if the wetlands are altered or destroyed; educating water resource managers about wetlands hydrol- ogy and the roles of wetlands; and . trends. conducting a national inventory of wetland conditions and LAKES AND RESERVOIRS Eutrophication and sedimentation in lakes and reservoirs are natural processes that human activity can accelerate. Ensuring the longevity of lakes and reservoirs depends on an understanding of limnology. The WRD's potential roles in helping preserve lakes and reservoirs are: . investigating how watershed processes contribute to de- creased water quality; conducting operations studies for water supply and multi ple use: supporting limnological research; and educating water resource managers about anthropogenic processes that accelerate the aging of lakes and reservoirs. ESTUARIES, HARBORS, AND BAYS Understanding coastal marine processes requires a large data- base and sophisticated models. Addressing concerns about how best to protect marine environments for multiple uses will require major new initiatives. Potential roles for the WRD in marine research are: advancing development of contaminant transport and dynamic flow models for shallow marine environments;

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30 Preparing for the Twenty-First Century conducting prototype studies to evaluate the models in a variety of estuary, harbor, and bay conditions; and collecting marine data and analyzing trends. -