The federal Advisory Committee on Water Information (“ACWI”) has been asked by the Interior Dept for recommendations to assure strong water data and science programs at the USGS despite the shrinking federal budget, and ICWP is helping to lead those discussions. Peter Evans is chairing an ad hoc Workgroup that has studied almost twenty USGS presentations and proposed a dozen recommendations for the Associate USGS Director for Water and for the Interior Department Assistant Secretary for Water & Science.
The proposed recommendations will be presented to the full ACWI in November, but Assistant Secretary Castle has followed the progress and supported the encouraged the Workgroup to complete the difficult evaluation and selection process and the summary of its proposed recommendations. The ICWP Committees (Policy and Science) have also followed and advised our participation.
The proposed recommendations give top priority to the 3 monitoring networks (i.e., surface water, groundwater and water quality), including the closure of any critical gaps (viewed from the national perspective). The proposal also favors Working Science (my term, not theirs) over investigations that are curiosity-driven. The Workgroup includes vocal advocates for groundwater and basic research and the deliberation has confronted the question of what the federal role must sustain and additional data and science might be provided by other agencies, organizations, universities and businesses.
The current draft of the Workgroup proposal is on the ACWI website.