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Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." --- Brundtland Commission, 1987

The Roundtable proposal originated at the March 2001 meeting of the Interagency Working Group on Sustainable Development Indicators (IWGSDI). See for background on this group. There are parallel efforts now in place for a Roundtable on Sustainable Forests, plus one for Rangelands, and for Minerals, supported by the Forest Service. Each of these is focused on developing criteria and indicators to help report status and trends for more effective decision making. The Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable would follow the approach of this model. See for details about the Forest Service model.

The Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable idea was presented at the 2001 through 2004 meetings of the Advisory Committee on Water Information (see The Roundtable was endorsed as an ad hoc action item of the Advisory Committee, to give it time to mature and to bring it under the wing of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. This endorsement does not include providing personnel or resources for the Roundtable. At the 2002 meeting the Terms of Reference were approved and the revised version was accepted in 2003.

The purposes of the Roundtable, its scope, and principal items for discussion are to be determined by the participants. For example, the Roundtable might include the following:

General purposes of the roundtable: Providing an open forum for exchange of information.

Integrating water information to support the goals of the Advisory Committee on Water Information under OMB Memorandum 92-01, in particular water information that is needed to define sustainability.

Assembling information about sustainable water resources and making it available to support government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other interested parties,

Developing criteria and indicators for measuring sustainable water resources,

Specific purposes or products of the roundtable: Avoiding duplication with present efforts, and including their results in the Roundtable program.

Defining the intended audience and user community.

Identifying people who will provide impetus to the Roundtable, and take action to carry work forward. Determining what kind of facilitation and administrative support would be needed to foster continuing activity in the future. Developing a broad spectrum of support from many organizations and interested parties so as to produce a "diversified portfolio" of people and institutions that will be able to thrive over a long period of time.

Identifying short (6 month) and long-term (more than one year) potential funding mechanisms.

Overall scope: Sustainability of water quantity and quality; fresh water; ground water; estuarine waters; coastal waters; wetlands; water uses and availability; relationship between water resources and land use.

For further information contact: Tim Smith, Coordinator, 703-860-1038,

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