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Institutional Integration and Collaboration The scope, complexity, ant] multidisciplinary nature of many re- gional water resources problems dictate the need for greater integration of efforts within divisions of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and among stakeholders such as other federal agencies, state and local gov- emments, and the private sector. This chapter discusses the potential for such collaborative efforts. EXTERNAL COLLABORATION Collaborative studies with other agencies are not new to the USGS Water Resources Division (WRD) and its predecessors. ~ fact, in re- cent years, the WRD has derived a substantial portion of its budget (23 percent in FY 1997) from collaboration with federal agencies. The WRD has been caller! on to solve a wide range of groundwater problems, primarily contamination-related, associated with Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Defense (DOD) activities. WRD projects for the DOE at the Idaho National Engineering and Environ- mental Laboratory (INEEL; http://water.usgs.gov/pubs/FS/FS-130-97/) and at the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are examples of such collaboration. The DOD's En- vironmental Conservation Program (DODEC, formed in 1987) is a co- operative program in which WRD provides technical guidance to the DOD while developing the science of the fate and transport of contami- nants in surface and subsurface waters. The WRD has established strong working relationships with other federal agencies as well. Its 48

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Institutional Integration and Collaboration 49 studies of agricultural pollution in the upper Midwest, conducted through its Toxic Substances Hydrology (Toxics) Program, have been coordinated with both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As a whole, WRD collaborates with a wide range of other organiza- tions (Table 3.1), but the degree to which collaboration occurs varies from district to district. The committee believes opportunities exist that have not been developed in many districts. Organizations can serve as partners, advisors, or clients in relation to WRD. As partners, collaborators work directly with WRD on projects, collecting data, conducting basic and applied research, assessing water resources for regulatory action, or synthesizing information for consum- ers at the regional or national level. Collaborators may serve in a more limited capacity as advisors, who steer efforts without actively partici- pating in the project, as clients, who make use of the results of the proj- ect, or as both. Primary clients include (1) water managers with opera- tional day-to-day responsibilities for public water supply, protection and distribution, wastewater treatment, reservoir operation, power genera- tion, and flood forecasting, (2) environmental and natural resources managers, regulators, and planners in tribal, local, state, and federal gov- ernments and nongovernmental organizations, including burgeoning numbers of watershed groups, and (3) the science and engineering com- munity, including agencies, water supply and treatment industries, min- ing and energy industries, universities, and engineering and consulting firms. These same organizations and others may be full partners or pri- marily advisors. In addition to its formal collaboration with other institutions on spe- cif~c projects, the USGS must recognize that many other federal, state, local, and private organizations in the United States are engaged in re- search and data collection on many of the same topics that the USGS groundwater program seeks to address. Many organizations are collect- ing real-time data on water quality, groundwater contamination, groundwater levels, pumping rates, and a host of other parameters. Some organizations are charged by state law to conduct such studies; others have legal authority to act on water and related issues. The na- tion's universities and state geological surveys are conducting much fundamental research. One goal of the USGS groundwater program should be to coordinate the efficient gathering of such data and to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.

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50 Investigating Groundwater Systems TABLE 3.1 Identification and Role of Potential Collaborators win USGS WRD on Groundwater Projects with a Regional or National Component Type of Collaboration Basic & Regionalor Potential Data Applied Regulatory National Collaborator Collection Research Assessment Synthesis Other WRD Parker Parker Partner Parker Other USGS Parker Parker Parker Parker Divisions Other Federal Advisor, Client Partner Parker Advisor, Client State Advisor, Client Advisor, Parker Advisor Client Local Advisor, Client Client University/ Partner Parker Partner Partner Water Institute Quasi-Gov't. ~ Private Client Parker Parker Client Other Stakeholders2 Advisor, Client Advisor, Advisor, Client Client Advisor, Client 1Includes such entities as water, irrigation, conservancy, water quality, water management, soil and water conservation, and flood-con~ol districts/authorities. 2Includes environmental groups, professional organizations, watershed councils, Indian tribes, etc. Several existing USGS programs with broad participation are de- scribed in more detail in this chapter. The Middle Rio Grande basin study (Box 3.1), viewed by many as a prototype for future Ground-Water Resources Program (GWRP) studies, is notable for its Technical Ad- visory Committee, which helps the many organizations involved in the project to coordinate their programs. The Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem Program (CBEP, Box 3.2) is an example of coordination among all four divisions of the USGS, including the recently incorporated Biological

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Institutional Integration and Collaboration 51

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52 Investigating Groundwater Systems FIGURE 3.1 Partners in the Middle Rio Grande basin project meet in formal and infon~al settings to ensure stakehoicler support and partici- pation. The groups represented here include the USGS (WRD and Geologic Division), Office of the State Engineer, Office of the Natural Resource Trustee, and private industry. (Photograph courtesy of James R. Bartolino, USGS.) The New Mexico WRD district office has hosted a number of for- mal and informal gatherings of workers and stakeholders, including three workshops featuring papers and discussions. Compendia of extended abstracts and short papers are published as USGS Open-File Reports (see Bartolino, 1997a; Slate, 1998~. The USGS also published a fact sheet (Bartolino, 1997b) and maintains a Web site (h~://~mmcweb.cr.- us~s.gov/public-/mrgb/mrgbhome.htmI) for the study.

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Institutional Integration and Collaboration 53

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54 Investigating Groundwater Systems

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Institutional Integration and Collaboration 55 Resources Division. The synergy of the CBEP is enhanced by a funding mechanism that leverages and interweaves ongoing programs of the . . . various c .lvlslons. Rationale and Benefits Collaboration has led to significant contributions to groundwater science and has led to the building of databases for water resource in- vestigations. As water science problems become more inter- and multi- disciplinary, WRD collaboration and integration with other organiza- tions will become even more important (NRC, l99la). Investigations into problems addressed by other agencies engage WRD scientists in new and challenging areas of research and provide settings in which new theories, computer models, and field investigation techniques may be tested. Through these interactions, the WRD would: employees, augment and leverage its research funds and programs, gain access to research being conducted elsewhere, retain its cutting-edge science, identify talented individuals (e.g., graduate students) as potential stay attuned to current research needs, especially at the local and state levels, . identify future research needs, especially at the local and state levels, and generate good will and political capital. Conditions for and Obstacles to Collaboration . . Collaboration in providing the science and databases to manage re- gional groundwater resources requires communication between WRD and stakeholders as well as vigorous partnerships on projects of mutual interest. In this section, conditions fostering collaboration are discussed, obstacles to collaboration are identified, and possible ways to overcome those obstacles are suggested. Communication, both talking and listening, is key. WRD needs to inform the public of planned . ,, ongoing, and completed projects and their

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56 Investigating Ground water Systems products (reports, maps, Web pages, (lata, fact sheets, etc.~. WRD should not presume public awareness or support of its efforts, so com- munication must be given high priority, and efforts to improve commu- nication must be persistent. Education and outreach are recognized ave- nues of public communication, but "communication" implies an ex- change of information and a relationship with the public. Through edu- cation and outreach, WRD can capture public attention and work with the public to help define public value. The public in the broadest sense, as stakeholders, can help identify valuable activities or products. WRD should not presume what the public values and should continuously seek new ways of creating public value. Effective listening is a matter of maintaining a receptive, service-oriented stance. Channels will open with vigorous partnerships with public groups such as watershed groups or, if necessary, advisory/liaison committees representing a cross section of stakeholders should be established. Partnerships are preferable in that they tend to be more interactive. The experience of this NRC committee suggests that obstacles to collaboration are both institutional and practical. Institutionally, WRD employees do not always feet authorized and encouraged to start new programs with unconventional structures. Practically, many WRD em- ployees do not have much contact with potential collaborators. Both obstacles are discussed in this section. Does WRD have the authority to undertake programmatic innova- tion? Although the agency has an established mission, flexibility exists. It is helpful to view WRD employees as public managers who are ex- pected to create public value (Moore, 1995~; WRD's activities ultimately are authorized and sustained by citizen perception that the agency is cre- ating something of value. Legitimizing WRD activities requires that the agency be attunes! to the nation's needs and that citizens be aware of the value created by WRD. The interface between WRD and citizens is the production and use of reports, streamflow and water quality data, maps, and fact sheets. That interface should be broadened and should be made as dynamic as possible through ceaseless attention to improving prod- ucts and their availability (Chapter 5 discusses the critical issue of ac- cess to data). WRD needs to engage the public in a two-way discourse as to what is needed and valued. Where this discourse has developed and WRD is working collaboratively, stakeholders at various levels as- sume an advisory as well as a client role with respect to WRD. Resources for the GWRP have been shrinking, as discussed later

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Institutional Integration and Collaboration 57 but WRD products and services are sufficiently valued that additional resources can be brought to bear by an enterprising district office. Dis- trict chiefs should fee] authorized to seek new activities that create pub- lic value and that are sustainable; close association with the public via multipartner collaborations, combined with an eye to the WRD's mis- sion, will ensure that the agency is attuned to value and is aligned with its own strategic plans. To encourage innovation, the director of the USGS should support anal reward innovation when it occurs. As a practical matter, collaboration in multipartner efforts of great public value requires that partners physically meet in the field, at seminars, and above all around the conference table. Proximity of WRD offices to potential partners has fostered collaboration in a number of cases. For example, the WRD district office in Madison, Wisconsin, shared a building with the state geological survey, and both were located adjacent to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and not far from other state agencies. As a consequence, collaboration among these groups started early and has survived the relocation of several of the partners. This does not necessarily recommend office proximity, but it does recognize that collaboration is a practical matter of individuals meeting face-to-face. WRD may if necessary take the initiative and fol- low the Middle Rio Grande basin model, hosting meetings and work- shops, publishing abstracts or short papers prepared among partners, and maintaining Web sites for large collaborative projects. Collaboration should not be imposed as a requirement on WRD sci- entists; instead, incentives should be offered and institutional barriers removed to permit collaboration. WRD scientists should be allowed discretion to solicit non-WRD scientists as collaborators, and the organi- zation should consider making a general solicitation for non-WRD sci- entists to work on agency projects. WRD should encourage colIabora- lion on projects funded by other agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), EPA, National Institutes of Health Am, and DOE, which can also provide a means of increasing the funding base for fun- damental or more research-specific activities. INTERNAL COLLABORATION Collaboration with other programs within the USGS is also a neces- sity, rather than an option, for the GWRP. The annual budget for the

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58 Investigating Ground water Systems GWRP (and its predecessor, RASA) has declined from more than $15 million in the early l980s to $3.1 million in 1999 (Figure 2.2~. The GWRP presently accounts for less than 2 percent of the budget of the WRD (Figure 3.2~. To put the cost of this program in perspective, it is instructive to compare the GWRP budget with budgets for groundwater mitigation. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensa- tion, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980 ("Superfund") was estab- lished to clean up hazardous waste sites that threaten human health or the environment. CERCLA and the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986 authorized over $15 billion through ~ 997 for cleanup (Guerrero, 1999~. Despite this disparity of expenditure, the framework provided by groundwater assessment and science often underlies successful efforts at mitigating contamination, as well as many other groundwater manage- ment issues of national significance. The GWRP is a small program with a large mission. Clearly the funding is not sufficient to conduct a national, process-oriented, multiscale synthesis of the nation's ground- water resources, but large budget increases for the WRD are unlikely. Financial constraints make it essential to maximize the value of data and information generated by every issue-specific or aquifer-specific study conducted by the WRD. These constraints also raise the question of whether some of the regional studies might be conducted under the aus- pices of one of the other WRD programs. At first glance, internal cost sharing within WRD appears unlikely. Existing programs have well-defined missions, and resources are fully committed. The National Water-QuaTity Assessment (NAWQA) Pro- gram focuses strictly on water quality. The National Research Program and the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program focus on important but rather specific inquiries that usually lack a regional scope. The Hydro- Togic Networks Program is largely confined to surface water flow meas- urement. However, various cooperative mechanisms are available, as described in the following sections. Federal-State Cooperative Water Program The Federal-State Cooperative Water (Coop) Program itself is predicated on interagency collaboration and integration. The WRD shares costs (up to 50 percent) with state and local agencies on priority

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Institutional Integration and Collaboration USGS Water Resources Programs, FYI 999 Hydrologic Research and Development 7.2% Hydrologic Networks and Analysis 12.4% Water Information Delivery 2.0% Federal Share, Water Resources Institutes Toxics 2.4% 6 . 9/n National Water-Quality Assessment 34.1% 59 - Federal Share, Coop Program 33.5% Ground-Water Resources 1 .5% FIGURE 3.2 Ground-Water Resources Program budget as a percentage of total USGS water resources programs for FY 1999. Note that the GWRP currently represents less than 2 percent of the overall WRD ef- fort. SOURCE: USGS. water resources projects, with about half the funds being earmarked for data collection and half for investigations and research. The number of cooperating agencies has grown from 697 in 1982 to 1,238 in 1997, with much of the increase coming from cooperative projects with local gov- ernments. In some projects the WRD plays the major role, providing most if not all the expertise to the project. Examples of this include the devel- opment of a numerical groundwater flow model of the Albuquerque ba- sin for the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico (Kernodle et al., 1995), and the Water-Resources Reconnaissance series publications of the Ne- vada Division of Water Resources, which characterized and inventoried the water resources of that state. Cooperative work can lead to projects in which there is more true collaboration, as other organizations assume the roles of partners in performing the work. The Middle Rio Grande basin study in New Mexico, which evolved from a Coop Program mod-

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60 Investigating Grounclwater Systems cling study into a partnership involving numerous agencies and other entities, is a prime example. The Coop Program and others like it (e.g., DODEC) have also pro- vided models for cooperation within the WRD, by providing important feedback to WRD research and methods development (NRC, 1996~. For example, when local Coop projects gradually exposed the widespread nature of contaminants in groundwater in the 1970s, the WRD responded by developing new procedures for sample collection, new analytical methodologies, and new approaches to understanding the transport of organic contaminants in groundwater (NRC, 1996~. This emphasis on organic contaminants helped launch the WRD's Toxics Substances Hy- drology Program. With coordinated effort, many activities of the Coop program can and should be aligned with broader water resources objectives to achieve a regional synthesis. As previously described by this committee (NRC, 1994~: The development of hypotheses concerning the extrapolation of findings to other areas is crucial to establishing national relevance. The primary role of regional synoptic studies will be to test hypotheses about broad regional patterns based on inferences from study unit investigations and existing data. This iterative process of developing and testing hypotheses about large-scale regional patterns from small-scare studies of processes, and, conversely about processes and other influ- ences from large-scares studies of patterns and trends, is es- sential to the synthesis process. This approach to national as- sessment is essentially a stratified study design, in which the strata of conditions may not be definable at the outset but can be developed as new information is added. USGS district chiefs can be proactive in selecting projects in line with regional needs because while Coop research agendas are driven locally, resources are limited so the USGS has latitude in selecting proj- ects that address a wider need. Likewise, districts may be able to re- gionalize a local study by bringing partners from adjacent political units (e.g., counties) to the table. One test of the success with which the stra- tegic objectives of regional and national synthesis have been success- fully integrated into local cooperative studies may be the extent to which individual study managers have identified the feedback and relationship between the critical issues and drivers in their specific study areas, and the extent to which they have identified regional and national issues

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Institutional Integration and Collaboration 61 common to other place-based studies in the National Research Program. An added incentive exists for district chiefs to align district research with national priorities: with an expanding private sector skilled in hy- drogeology and a sometimes narrowing focus of the WRD to smaller- scaTe Coop studies, the potential for competition between the WRD and environmental consultants has developed. The environmental consulting industry expanded in the 1980s and 1990s, in response to the enactment of CERCLA and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In 1960, 65 percent of 3,000 hydrologists surveyed worked for the fed- eral government, while 10 percent were employed in the private sector (NRC, l99ib). By 1988, these figures were 30 percent and 32 percent, respectively. During this time, moreover, the ratio of surface water to groundwater hydrologists decreased from 2:1 to 0.7: ~ ~C, l991b). Conflicts have arisen. The American Institute of Professional Ge- ologists (AIPG) formally protested several USGS WRD projects in northern Arizona because the AIPG felt that the WRD had "marketed their services to and obtained projects from local entities, at the expense of private sector companies" (Garcia, 1998, p. 9~. The conflict was eventually resolved, but this incident illustrates the increasingly fine line the USGS must follow in undertaking projects for the public good while avoiding competition with the private sector. On the other hand, the committee feels it is only fair to point out that without the sustained ef- fort by USGS to develop the technological base used by consultants and others, the private sector would not have been as successful. Balance and perspective are needed. The N~C stated a decade ago that "in some cases, the WRD is acting as a consultant to local government; this situa- tion should be avoided unless some broader purpose is served. The WRD should continually evaluate the merits of its local assessments and cooperative activities to ensure that its limited personnel are engaged in projects with a scientific or national purpose" (NRC, 1991a). We be- lieve that this statement still holds. National Water-Quality Assessment Program The National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, initi- ated in 1991 (Leahy and Wilber, 1991), is often mentioned as a model for the proposed regional groundwater assessment and national synthe- sis. NAWQA is designed to describe the status and trends in the surface

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62 Investigating Groundwater Systems and groundwater quality of a large portion of the nation and identify cause-and-effect relationships between water quality and human/natural factors. The program also has a national synthesis component (NRC, 1994), which is designed to "scale up" information obtained from the 60 study units into a coherent assessment. Like the NAWQA national synthesis, the synthesis of regional and national groundwater investigations shouict not simply be a compilation of information from individual study units. Rather, synthesis must use the information and understanding obtained through the collective ef- forts among most or all of the individual study units to obtain a broader, process-oriented understanding that can be used to support program de- cisions and policy-making at the national level. There is an inherent trade-off, and a delicate balance must be maintained between efforts di- rected toward local issues and issues perceived to be of national signif~- cance. The need for balance is critical for a program like the GWRP; leveraging limited resources in cooperative studies is the only opportu- nity for supporting a consistent national synthesis. The NRC (1994) recommendations on the need for a process- oriented framework for NAWQA synthesis are also appropriate for re- gional groundwater studies and are reiterated here. Essential elements that should be integrated throughout the Ground Water Research Pro- gram include coordination and common linkages between data collection efforts (in a variety of settings and contexts) and process-oriented re- search, uniform protocols for sampling analysis and archiving of data (including mode] parameterization and source code), and information structures that allow information flow between local cooperative studies and regional and national synthesis. Just as the NAWQA Program was initiated and refined through pilot studies in seven different regions (e.g., the Carson River basin, the Del- marva Peninsula, and the Central Oklahoma Aquifer), the USGS's cur- rent regional assessments in the Middle Rio Grande basin can be viewed as a prototype for the development of consistent protocols for regional and national assessment. The NAWQA Program utilizes two types of committees to support its programs. The first type of committee is a single Federal Advisory Council (FAC), comprised of federal agency representatives. This coun- cil meets every six months. Its duties (NRC, 1994) include the follow- ~ng:

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Institutional Integration anc! Collaboration Tics 63 assist in the selection of study units and national synthesis top- ~, exchange and discuss assessment protocols, and discuss and review assessment findings. The second, a liaison committee, was formed for each study unit. Membership consists of representatives from organizations noted in Ta- ble 3-1. As these committees were formed, the WRD sought a balance of management, research, and regulatory interests. These committees meet about every six months and provide important local and regional input, specifically performing the following functions (NRC, 1994~: . exchanging information about water quality issues of local and regional interest, mation, and ject reports. identifying sources of relevant data and information, discussing adjustments in project design, collaborating on the collection and analysis of data and infor- assisting in the design of information products from the projects, reviewing and commenting upon planning documents and pro- Much of this structure could be adapted for the regionalization of the GWRP. Toxic Substances Hydrology Program Another example of interaction is the Toxic Substances Hydrology (Toxics) Program, a program formally initiated in 1983 but existing pre- viously as the Subsurface Waste Injection Program. In 1986, a surface water component was added. The program's objective is to provide in- formation that will be useful to decision-makers in remediating existing waste and preventing future contamination. Intensive field investiga- tions at contaminated sites are designed to (1) obtain a better under- standing of the processes controlling contaminant fate and transport, (2) gather information that is transferable to other sites, and (3) address the major sources and types of contamination in groundwater and surface

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64 Investigating Groundwater Systems water (NRC, 19964. Early in the program the decision was made to con- duct long-term research at well-characterized sites, and projects are funded as long as they are productive (NRC, 19961. The Toxics Program has several features that would be valuable elements in a regional groundwater program. First, the emphasis on long-term studies at well-characterized sites has yielded important in- sights into processes. Second, transferability has been emphasized. Third, the program has provided fertile ground for collaboration. Although collaboration is not a primary concern of the Toxics Pro- gram, its emphasis on long-term site-specif~c studies has attracted re- searchers from outside the USGS, most notably from the academic community. One of the best examples of this is the work at the Massa- chusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod (http://massl.er.usgs.gov/- CapeCoUToxics/~. One of the studies involves the fate and transport of chemicals in a contaminant plume from a sewage treatment facility of the now-decommissioned Otis Air Force Base. WRD personnel per- formed initial work, but later the WRD invited university researchers to conduct their own experiments (e.g., Krueger et al., 1998~. The long- term nature of the investigation, the well-defined site hydrogeology, and the site's security have attracted many researchers and graduate students from regional universities (e.g., MIT, Yale, and University of WaterIoo). A similar but smaller-scale example is a site of an oil pipeline spill in Bemiddi, Minnesota, where university and WRD researchers have made important findings vis-a-vis natural attenuation of organic contaminants. The Toxics Program has also produced cooperation with other fed- eral agencies. In 1989 the program began studies on the occurrence of agricultural chemicals pesticides and nitrate in the waters of the up- per Midwest corn belt states. These studies have been coordinated with the EPA and the USDA (NRC, 1996~. CONCLUSIONS The complex and multidisciplinary nature of groundwater resource problems of regional and national importance dictates the need for greater collaboration of expertise within the WRD and with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and the private sector. Project leaders and other WRD scientists should also be encouraged to collabo- rate with researchers from outside the USGS. They should also fully

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Institutional Integration and Collaboration 65 participate in local, regional, and national conferences, technical meet- ings, and workshops to examine the larger scientific and societal context of their work. Within the WRD, greater synergy can be achieved by aligning as many activities of the Coop and other programs as possible with regional water resources objectives. Districts may be able to regionaTize a local study by bringing partners from adjacent political units to the table. Re- gional directors may assist in the coordination of synoptic studies by removing institutional obstacles to collaboration and by encouraging programmatic innovation. This regionaTization of local assessments and cooperative activities will also help to avoid conflicts with the private sector. Uniformity in protocol in process-oriented groundwater research and in data collection, analysis, and archiving (including model parameter- ization and source code) should be sought whenever possible. Informa- tion should be structured to flow easily from local cooperative studies to a regional and national synthesis. Existing models for information man- agement, such as those used in the NAWQA and Middle Rio Grande basin programs, should be examined as potential prototypes for regional assessments. Technical advisory committeesconsisting of water managers and planners, university researchers, representatives from local, state, and federal agencies and from citizens' and environmental groups, and other stakeholders should be established for regional study units. Advisory committees assist in the selection of study boundaries, develop assess- ment protocols, convey local and regional values and interests, collabo- rate on the collection and analysis of existing and new data, assist in the design of information products, and review planning documents and project reports. The active participation of the public not only as clients for information, but also as advisors, will help the WRD to obtain stakeholder allegiance and support for new and existing activities.