Impact of Awareness-Raising and Citizen Pressure on US Groundwater Governance

Monday, December 4, 2017: 2:10 p.m.
101 AB (Music City Center)
Andrew Stone , American Ground Water Trust, Concord, NH

Who make decisions about how groundwater resources are managed? Who has water allocation authority or the authority to restrict pumping? By what legislative or legal process was that authority obtained? Groundwater governance is a dynamic and evolutionary process involving collective influences on policy and management. Decisions about the use of groundwater are rooted in political structure, historical precedent, hydrogeological conditions, legal rights and vested interests. Groundwater governance does not start from a blank page but is built on past influences.

In recent years, citizens, community interest groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and professional associations have had considerable influence on the way in which groundwater resources are managed. Greater public awareness about the significance of groundwater has been a motivating force on public involvement. Issues such as hydraulic fracturing, bottled water and emerging contaminants have forced elected representatives to pay attention to resource protection and allocation policies.

Information, awareness and education about groundwater, much of it provided by NGOs and professional associations, has helped widen the suite of groundwater stake-holders. It is no longer just senior staff in state and federal agencies or the direct vested interests of groundwater end-users who have the ear of the political policymakers. Individuals and organizations with environmental, ecological, health related and socioeconomic priorities have shown they can impact decisions about groundwater use and source protection.

Groundwater governance strategies are principally developed to achieve sustainability while protecting a diverse range of vested interests by balancing economic, environmental and social issues within institutional political frameworks. Many agencies and units of government play a role in creating, implementing and policing groundwater regulations which are the basic building blocks of groundwater governance. Citizen pressure and the interventions of associations and NGOs can have a major influence on regulations and policy.


Slides in PDF
Andrew Stone, American Ground Water Trust, Concord, NH
Andrew Stone has over forty years of ground water experience in Africa and the U.S. as a university professor, ground water consultant and ground water advocate & educator. He has experience of ground water exploration & development, well design and source protection in a wide variety of geologic environments. He has convened and coordinated over 250 conference and workshop programs related to ground water management, aquifer storage recovery, conjunctive use, water banking, ground source heating and cooling technology, asset management and well design. He received the 1998 NGWA “Oliver Award” for outstanding contributions to the ground water industry.

NGWA Groundwater Summit is being held in conjunction with Groundwater Week.

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National Ground Water Association
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