Water Managers’ Perceptions of the Science-Policy Interface in Phoenix, Arizona: Implications for an Emerging Boundary Organization

Abstract:

A potential water supply crisis has sparked concern among policymakers, water managers, and academic scientists in Phoenix, AZ. The availability of water resources is linked to population growth, increasing demand, static supply, land use change, and uncertainty. This article examines the perceptions of water managers working at the science–policy interface in Phoenix and discusses the implications of their experiences for the development of an emerging boundary organization: the Decision Center for a Desert City. Qualitative analysis of data generated through in-depth interviews with water managers uncovers two understandings of the intersection of science and policy: One perspective is a traditional, linear model with sharp conceptual distinctions between the two spheres, and the other is a recursive model recognizing fluid boundaries. Managers describe uncertainty as inescapable, but manageable. A prescriptive model for the science–policy interface for Phoenix water management is presented.

Full Paper

White, Dave D., Corley, Elizabeth A., & White, Margaret S. (2008). Water Managers’ Perceptions of the Science-Policy Interface in Phoenix, Arizona: Implications for an Emerging Boundary Organization. Society & Natural Resources, 21, 230-243.