Managing Water in Western North Carolina: Decision-Maker Perceptions and Policy Implementation

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kristan Cockerill Ph.D., Associate Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Western North Carolina is water rich, with high annual rainfall and historically low population. Therefore, water management has traditionally not been a signi?cant policy issue. Recent droughts and high population growth, however, have stressed many water supply systems. To deal effectively with these stresses, new policies and management practices have been initiated, prompted by both state mandates and local pressure. As pressures are likely to continue, there is a need to under-stand what motivates policy development and what processes decision makers use when creating water management policies and programs. Previous research ?nds that decision makers are apt to base decisions on perceptions, personal beliefs and historical practice rather than on relevant water data. In this study, survey results are used to understand how decision-maker perceptions about water availability, growth, and environmental concerns correlate with water allocation and conservation policies. Results indicate that respondents are only moderately concerned about water availability and drought is the primary concern, rather than population growth. Few of these decision makers have implemented water education programs, but many have implemented drought-related conservation programs. Environmental concerns related to water management are quite low among all respondents.

Additional Information

Kristan Cockerill, Christopher Badurek, & Robin Hale (2014) "Managing Water in Western North Carolina: Decision-Maker Perceptions and Policy Implementation" Environmental Practice volume 16 issue 2 pp. 94-101 Version of Record Available from
Language: English
Date: 2014
water supply systems, North Carolina water, water quality, droughts, high population growth

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