The overarching goal of the water research effort is to create, synthesize, and disseminate the knowledge necessary to enable municipal and agricultural sectors to more efficiently utilize available water resources and adapt to water conservation approaches in order to build sustainable communities in this region in the face of multiple challenges present to them.

ACFOver the last past five years, the Water Research Team of the SECC has expended a tremendous amount of effort on a variety of activities to address drought related water resources challenges in the SE US and to support NIDIS efforts in the ACF River Basin. Example of these efforts include (1) drought information needs assessment of municipal water managers, (2) development of a community drought deficit index, (3) quantification of drought information value for small-to-mid size communities, (4) long-range (up to 6 months) streamflow forecasting in the ACF, (5) quantification of the effect of climate variability on groundwater levels in an effort to develop groundwater level forecasting tool, (6) evaluation of the North American Multi-model Ensemble (NMME) across the SE US (Tian et al. 2014a), (7) long-range forecasts of reference evapotranspiration across the SE US (Tian et al. 2014b), and (8) water resource forecasts for members of the FWCA (Risko and Martinez 2014; Tian et al. 2014d). Because of the SECC’s effort, stakeholders of the SE US are now engaged in understanding and using climate information in their decision-making related to water with many stakeholders now regularly attending the ACF River Basin Drought Assessment Webinars.

Check out this fact sheet created for SECC and NIDIS efforts: What does the 2010-2011 La Niña mean for the Southeastern USA?

To learn more about the SECC’s efforts to engage stakeholders in these processes, head to the Water Engagement tab.

National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) connections

Because of the significance of drought in the SE US, in July of 2009, NIDIS selected the ACF River Basin as a high-priority pilot for developing DEWS for the SE US, largely because of the breadth and complexity of its ongoing water management challenges. Since selecting the ACF River Basin as a pilot, the NIDIS program held a series of stakeholder meetings and workshops in the basin. In each of these meetings and workshops, stakeholders expressed the need for better coordination and information sharing during drought events. This need led to the initiation of the ACF River Basin Drought Assessment Webinars now being conducted on a monthly basis by SECC and NIDIS in the basin. This effort is led by Puneet Srivastava (AU).

Florida Water and Climate Alliance

In response to Water Utilities’ expressed need for improved climate information at local scales, the Florida Water and Climate Alliance (FloridaWCA) was initiated in 2009. The FloridaWCA is stakeholder-scientist partnership with members from water utilities, regional agencies, universities, and local governments with a shared interest in community building to create actionable science. Facilitated by the UF Water Institute, partners are working together to understand how climate variability/change and sea level rise may impact planning and operation of Florida’s public water resources and supply, and refining and developing science based tools in seasonal scale and long term projections at a local scale. The FloridaWCA has met quarterly since its inception in 2009 to share information, define research needs, and collaborate on new projects and grant proposals.