Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable --Terms
Official designation and authority.
The Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR)
is a subgroup of the Advisory Committee on Water Information
(ACWI) Hence, the Roundtable is part of the Water
Information Coordination Program mandated by OMB Memorandum
No. M-92-01, dated December 10, 1991. The Roundtable
reports to the ACWI and operates under the Federal Advisory
Committee Act (FACA), as outlined in this Terms of
Purpose, background, scope, and functions.
The purpose of the Roundtable is to provide an open forum
for exchanging ideas and information to foster collaboration
on ways to manage water resources in such a way that the
resource and its uses may be sustained over the long term.
The Roundtable has adopted the Brundtland Commission (1987)
definition of sustainable development as a starting point
for Roundtable discussions, with the full expectation
that the many different dimensions of water sustainability
will be a focal point of the Roundtable's activities:
"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
Roundtable participants are committed to interdisciplinary,
inter-jurisdictional, and cross-ownership collaboration
that identifies and supports national, state, and field-level
activities to sustain water resources. Roundtable discussions
and activities will focus in part on criteria, indicators,
and methods for assessing the sustainability of water
resources, as well as exploring, promoting, and improving
how this information is used to promote sustainable water
The Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable is one of
a number of on-going efforts to develop ways of collecting,
organizing, and using information on conditions and trends
to promote sustainable development. The Roundtable grew
from the Interagency Working Group on Sustainable Development
Indicators, which published the report Sustainable
Development in the United States; an Experimental Set
of Indicators. The Roundtable has also benefited from
the experience of similar Roundtables on forests, rangelands,
and minerals and energy.
State governments, communities, corporations and nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) have also independently undertaken
studies on the development of sustainability indicators.
This Roundtable will discuss ways to coordinate and integrate
the results of these various efforts so that the indicators
and related data can be made accessible and useful to
people in a wide range of contexts.
In practice, the scope of the Roundtable's activities
and accomplishments will depend on the initiatives and
priorities of the participants, as well as the availability
of resources. Issues the Roundtable will likely explore
Contributing to the development of a list of national-level
ecological, social, and economic criteria and indicators
along with measurement protocols that characterize
water resources and their uses;
Identifying existing data sets and measurement protocols
that can be used to conduct assessments using the
criteria and indicators;
Contributing to the development of a national data
inventory framework from which governmental and non-governmental
agencies, tribes, other organizations, and universities
collaboratively access and evaluate water-resources
indicator data from across the United States;
Identifying data-collection and research needs to
characterize and improve the sustainability of the
Nation's water resources; and
Contributing to the development of a collaborative
2005 report on the sustainability of water resources
and uses in the United States, utilizing the criteria
However, the Roundtable is specifically charged with
reporting to the Advisory Committee on Water Information
and other interests by October 2005 on conditions and
trends of the Nation's water resources that affect the
long-term sustainability of these resources. The Roundtable
may suggest research studies, policies, strategic objectives,
and priorities considered potentially useful in inventorying
or monitoring water-resource sustainability. The Roundtable
also may issue periodic reports before and after October
2005 related to water-resource sustainability.
The specific functions and tasks of the Roundtable include
To serve as a national forum for sharing information
and promoting responsibility and research for sustaining
the Nation's water and related land resources. The
Roundtable is not a decision-making body, but rather
an opportunity to engage individuals representing
diverse groups, organizations, interests, and backgrounds.
To identify and describe criteria, indicators, and
methods that characterize the sustainability of the
Nation's water resources; to share information about
data availability and quality, data gaps, and how
best to acquire desired information; and to share
perspectives about trends affecting the Nation's water
and related land resources that have policy or other
To produce products that will disseminate the work
of the Roundtable (such as white papers, web listings,
newsletter articles), as specified in a Work Plan,
and accomplished depending on the availability of
To consult regularly with the forestry, rangelands,
and minerals Roundtables about common considerations
To conduct outreach activities to inform others about
the findings, recommendations, and activities of the
Roundtable and to provide an opportunity for interested
groups to participate in the Roundtable.
To report annually the progress of the Roundtable
to the ACWI.
The Roundtable recognizes the importance of having
a broad range of interests represented among its particpates
and will seek to achieve and maintain the diversity.
The Roundtable will consist of representatives of
federal, tribal, and state agencies, as well as diverse
national organizations, companies, and individuals
committed to sustaining the Nation's water and related
Participation in the Roundtable and any of its workgroups
and functions is open to all interested parties and
is intended to be inclusive of a wide range of interests.
- Roundtable Work Groups
- The Roundtable will accomplish most of its work through
work groups that seek to assess existing information,
define concepts in water-resources sustainability, research
topics in water-resources sustainability, develop reports,
and conduct outreach to key constituencies.
- Work groups are established according to the interests
of individuals who wish to undertake specific actions
or activities; formation of work groups occurs either
during regularly scheduled Roundtable meetings or by
approval of the Steering Committee between meetings.
- Roundtable participants may want to be part of specific
work groups that develop as part of the Roundtable process.
Participation in work groups would require ongoing,
consistent involvement and representation.
- Participation in a Roundtable work group is voluntary
and provides opportunities for participants to focus
on high priority tasks important to the Roundtable,
individual participants, or participating organizations.
The Roundtable is a self-directed body that strives to
conform to principles of operation rather than rigid rules
of governance. However, in the course of conducting its
activities, decisions will be governed by the following
Consensus: The Roundtable actions in general will
be governed by consensus decision-making, indicating
the general acceptance and/or support of participants.
Diversity: Fundamental to the Roundtable is the participation
of individuals representing diverse interests and
organizations. Hence, the Roundtable actions should
reflect diverse participation to the extent feasible
and consistent with the overall Roundtable composition.
Consistency: Actions, findings, and recommendations
by the Roundtable should strive to build a web of
consistency in thought and action.
Scientific and Technical Accuracy: The Roundtable
will strive to incorporate the most current and scientifically
accurate information and data on water-resource availability,
use, and sustainability in its reports and other products.
Feasibility: Sustainable water resource plans require
scientifically sound theory as well as realistic expectations
for implementation. Hence, the Roundtable will focus
on data-collection methods, scientific approaches,
or actions that are considered feasible.
Role of Co-chairs and Steering Committee
The Steering Committee provides principal leadership
for the Roundtable, insuring that the activities and accomplishments
of the Roundtable progress adequately and conform to the
Roundtable objectives, principles, and scope. The Co-chairs
act as agents of the Steering Committee but in this regard
must also provide additional leadership. The steering
Committee and Co-chairs do not set the agenda of the Roundtable,
but rather facilitate a process for the Roundtable to
establish its own agenda and then facilitate and monitor
the accomplishment of that agenda. Some of the overall
roles and responsibilities include:
Take an active role in leadership of the Roundtable,
including personal initiative and encouraging involvement
from the organizations that the individual represents.
Act as advocate and spokesperson for the Roundtable
promoting its agenda, accomplishments, and findings.
Seek to broaden the participation in the Roundtable
by active recruitment among those in government, business,
environmental, public interest, academic, professional
association, and other organizations.
Develop and manage a budget, including solicitation
of funding, to provide resources for the Roundtable
operations. Identify services in kind that organizations
may be able to contribute to Roundtable operations.
Identify and work with organizations that can be
local conveners of Roundtable meetings, in various
parts of the nation.
Develop an ongoing work program for the Roundtable,
with support of the general roundtable participants
and the supporting organizations. Monitor the progress
of this program.
Charter work groups of the Roundtable in response
to Roundtable initiatives.
Work to develop relationships with ongoing programs
in other organizations that relate to sustainable
water resources. Take an active role in creating positive
and complementary actions that minimize duplication
Participate in administrative decisions of the Steering
Co-Chairs of the Roundtable are normally drawn from the
Steering Committee. Ideally, there should be chairs from
the public and private sectors. They serve for one year,
and this term may be renewed
Participation, Duties, and Guidelines:
Roundtable participants are expected to contribute to the
workings of the Roundtable by contributing in at least one
of many different roles:
Attend meetings where participants will have the opportunity
to share information, ideas, and views with other Roundtable
participants and to assist in documenting the discussions.
Participate in conference calls to plan or discuss Roundtable
and/or work group activities.
Share information internally with the participating organization
and externally with appropriate constituency groups.
Carry out activities and report results, prepare presentations,
and otherwise disseminate information.
Help prepare, edit, or review written reports by the
Roundtable and workgroups.
Contribute resources in staff, money, or materials in
support of the Roundtable.
Actively recruit new members and supporters for the Roundtable.
Participants may serve on the Steering Committee or as
Participants of the Roundtable will receive no pay, allowances,
or benefits by reason of their service on the Roundtable