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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - Articles

The National Water Survey Needs Assessment Program


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 42 No. 1, p. 98-103
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
    Received: Nov 27, 2012
    Published: September 23, 2013

    * Corresponding author(s): bmahler@uidaho.edu
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  1. Robert L. Mahler *a,
  2. Michael D. Smolenb,
  3. Tatiana Borisovac,
  4. Diane E. Boellstorffd,
  5. Damian C. Adamse and
  6. Nicola W. Sochackad
  1. a Soil Science Division, PSES 442339, Univ. of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-2339
    b Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Dep., Oklahoma State Univ., 111 Agricultural Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078-6016
    c Food and Resource Economics Dep., 1097 McCarty Hall B, P.O. Box 110240 IFAS, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0240
    d Dep. of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843-2474
    e School of Forest Resources and Conservation, and Food and Resource Economics Dep., P.O. Box 110410 IFAS, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0410
    d College of Engineering, Driftmier Engineering Center, Univ. of Georgia, 597 DW Brooks Drive, Athens, GA 30602


Water quality and availability are identified as priority areas for outreach and educational programs in many U.S. regions. This project offers a needs assessment tool (survey) that could be used on a state-by-state, regional, or national basis to analyze public attitudes, opinions, and behaviors as related to water resource issues. The information collected through the needs assessment can be used to identify objectives, strategies, and delivery modes for extension programs, and to evaluate the programs. The goal was to implement the needs assessment survey at 5-year intervals to: (1) measure changes in public priorities; (2) evaluate the effectiveness of educational programs; and (3) reprioritize, as necessary, the educational goals. A needs assessment survey template was developed and piloted in the Pacific Northwest. During 2001–2010, surveys were conducted in 41 states and six Pacific Island entities. Almost 11,000 surveys were returned completed for a response rate of 44.5%. Five-year follow-up surveys have been completed in five states to date. The results of these surveys have been used to prioritize extension water programs and compare issues and needs across and within regions. It is anticipated that some form of this survey will be conducted at 5-year time intervals until water is no longer of national concern.

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