Goal 7: Improve Adaptive Decision Making

Employ adaptive decision-making, especially in light of uncertainties, that support integrated regional water management and flood management system


  • Improve and expand monitoring, data management, and analysis
  • Connect decision-making with data and analysis
  • Improve diversity of population involved in decision-making


This objective is proposed to complement the other sustainability objectives that are based primarily on CWP-2009 Objectives and Resource Management Strategies. It deals with measuring whether or not the science and management systems themselves are responsive to existing and changing conditions. It supports the idea that sustainability is a process, as well as the result of a series of conscious actions.

Indicators with this Goal

  • Supports adaptation and resilience to climate change. The key to effective management is changing strategies and actions in response to new information and changing conditions.
  • Collaboration between scientists and policy makers to understand data and communication needs. Acting together, scientists and policy amkers are more likely to develop decisions that reflect the best information AND the desires and needs of society.
  • Communication of uncertainty, which can come from natural variation, measurement error, and incomplete knowledge of how systems function. It is important for scientists and analysts to communicate this uncertainty so that it becomes useful information in management decision-making and policy formulation.
  • Data sharing and distribution. When systems are created to facilitate data distribution, they are more likely to be understood and management is more likely to be based upon these data.
  • Equitable decision-making process for water management, diversity of participating organizations. A key component to equity and environmental justice is equitable access by all parties to decision-making.
  • The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) uses a satellite-based method to estimate fluctuations in groundwater in the Earth’s surface. By subtracting the water subcomponents soil moisture, snow-water-equivalent, and surface reservoir storage, the residual GRACE signal can be interpreted to represent basin-wide groundwater changes.
  • Participation rates in local stewardship by the local stakeholders such as municipalities, indigenous people, irrigation districts, community organizations, watershed associations, conservation groups, and stewardship groups.
  • The Plant Growth Index (PGI) is a measure of long-term changes in plant community condition, based on satellite measurement of the peak annual Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. You can click on "Map Layers" items to the right of the map view to display them in the map. It is possible to turn on more than one map at a time. See more detail below the map view.
  • Public reporting system for data and results of analysis as well as methods used.
  • Public awareness and perceptions of the role water plays in their lives and in the environment can affect how people vote to support candidates, taxes/assessments, and bond issues. It is both important to keep the public informed to support democracy and to track their knowledge and perceptions in order to develop policies and management actions.
  • Process/data needs of local jurisdictions and geographies. Participation of local government entities in measuring conditions and performance may contribute to better decision-making.
  • Standardized methods for data collection and reporting and minimize collection biases. This approach is more likely to facilitate data and knowledge sharing, which is critical to manage complex human activities in response to similarly-complex natural systems.
  • Proportion of streams monitored periodically for streamflow, temperature, fisheries, stability. High rates of monitoring by public agency, or private organization programs suggest a high level of care and support for stewardship.
  • Level of support or opposition for environmental measures, such as statewide bonds and local environmental regulation (% of population).
  • Annual withdrawal of ground and surface water as a percent of total annually renewable volume of freshwater.
  • The water footprint is the sum of the water used directly or indirectly to produce goods and services consumed by humanity. Agricultural production accounts for most of global water use, but drinking, manufacturing, cooking, recreation, washing, cleaning, landscaping, cooling, and processing all contribute to water use.
  • Flow chart of process from data need, collection, analysis, decision-making, implementation, and results.