Clearly policy makers should consider the impacts of any decisions they might make before making them. Science can provide estimates of various economic, ecologic, environmental, and even social impacts of alternative policies, impacts that determine how effective any particular policy will be. These impact estimates can be used to compare and evaluate alternative policies in the search for identifying the best one to implement. Among all scientists providing inputs to policy making processes are analysts who develop and apply models that provide these estimated impacts and, possibly, their probabilities of occurrence. But just producing them is not a guarantee that they will be considered by policy makers. This paper discusses ways scientists, including systems analysts, can effectively contribute to and inform those involved in making water management decisions. Brief descriptions of a variety of past and on-going water management policy making processes illustrate both some successes and failures of science informing policy.
science; policy making; systems models; communication; case studies; water management
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