Examining the representativeness of Georgia's state water plan

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Marshall, Amanda Christine
Norton, Bryan G.
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This thesis provides an analysis of the Georgia statewide regional water planning process; a system deemed to be operating in the adaptive management framework. The principal focus of this analysis is to detail a novel paradigm capable of dynamic response to changing resource demands which stems from adaptive management principles and ensures representativeness. The paradigm extends directly from application of the theories of bounded rationality and adaptive management. Development of the framework is accomplished through application of theory and correlated empirical analysis. Extreme drought conditions signal a punctuated-equilibrium effecting statewide water resource management which in turn drives the issuance of an executive-level directive to prioritize and effectively manage critical state water resources. This study evolves directly from analysis of the current effort to establish unified regional water plans which address rapid population growth, and escalating water resource conflicts with Alabama and Florida while satisfying priorities established within the executive directive. Fundamental to this analysis is the survey of currently seated regional water planning council members. The essential function of the survey is to provide a qualitative assessment of the perceptions of appointed council members. These perceptions influence water management techniques prescribed by the final policy. While this is a fuzzy correlation, a primary function of this analysis is to quantify the strength of correlation between perceptions and developed policy. This survey details appointed council member attitudes and attributes and affords analysis of future decision making outcomes. The method prescribed herein unifies multi-level decision making processes under a dynamic adaptive management paradigm, and is intended to link the regional water planning processes with continuous annual assessment in order to achieve the pluralistic benefits of adaptive management decision making.
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