Bridging Knowledge Gaps in Water Management

Integrating Approaches to Food, Water, Energy, and the Environment

On October 27, 2010, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the federal Subcommittee on Water Availability and Quality (SWAQ) cohosted a participatory workshop on domestic and international water issues entitled “Bridging Knowledge Gaps in Water Management.” The event convened federal agency experts and influential thinkers from academia, nonprofit organizations, and local communities to share insights across sectors and develop practical, actionable recommendations regarding the management of and access to food, water, and energy both domestically and abroad.

Participants developed recommendations regarding research needs, ways to promote multi-sectoral collaboration, and how to improve federal regulatory processes related to water. Four broad questions structured the roundtable discussions: Beyond financial restraints, what barriers do you face in your line of work (related to water)? In your opinion, what is hindering cross-sectoral collaboration with respect to water management? What has worked well in improving cooperation across sectors? What actions would you recommend the U.S. government undertake to help remove these barriers? During the workshop’s final session, the groups shared their findings with all participants. The attached summary and recommendations are organized around four key themes that emerged in the context of the day’s discussion: knowledge management for decisionmaking; decisionmaking in a context of risk and uncertainty; interagency and inter-sectoral collaboration; and the relevance of political and regulatory processes to water, energy, food, and agriculture.

Katherine E. Bliss
Senior Fellow and Director, Immunizations and Health Systems Resilience, Global Health Policy Center

Katryn F. Bowe