knowledge that would be helpful in fashioning sustainable solutions to these problems.

The committee identified five criteria that will be particularly helpful in addressing the region's water problems:

  • 1.  

    Take a regional view. Important insights will be gained by viewing the water problems of the area from a regional perspective, a perspective defined by hydrologic rather than national boundaries. Asking how water quantity and quality problems would be addressed if the region were managed as a single hydrologic unit will yield critical knowledge for good water resource management.

  • 2.  

    Account for the welfare of both present and future generations. The needs of both present and future generations and the status of the environment must all be considered as a matter of equity.

  • 3.  

    Consider all options for balancing water supplies and demands. A perceived gap between estimated future water supplies and water demands is not an adequate basis for water resources planning. Plans must be flexible and robust enough to deal with the uncertainties inherent in hydrologic phenomena, future patterns of social organization and water use, and long-term climatic changes. Plans based solely on projections of expected discrepancies between water supplies and water demands can needlessly reduce the range of planning options to resolve the region's water problems.

  • 4.  

    Maintain ecosystem services to sustain water supplies through integrated planning. Water must be allocated to maintain and enhance environmental quality and biodiversity, in order to sustain water supplies and to preserve the quality of life for the study area's inhabitants.

  • 5.  

    Recognize the mutual dependence of water quality and quantity. Any discussion of the adequacy of water supplies must explicitly acknowledge current and future water quality. The adequacy of water supplies inherently involves issues of water quality. This principle is especially important in the study area, where water is scarce and water quality is deteriorating in many areas.

To apply and implement these criteria effectively, it will be necessary to use much of the available scientific and technical information and to continue to seek new scientific information as well. The committee has identified research that would be particularly helpful in resolving regional water problems, such as research on the natural processes that support and deliver ecosystem services. Such promising research and technologies are discussed in Chapters 4 and 5.

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