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Co-producing Actionable Science for Water Utilities

Jason Vogel, Elizabeth McNie, David Behar


December 29, 2016
Abt's Jason Vogel co-authored this article which explores the efforts of four water utilities to co-produce actionable science by forging partnerships with scientific institutions to explore integrating climate considerations into their specific management context.

The experiences of these four utilities and their scientific partners, as part of the Piloting Utility Modeling Applications project of the Water Utility Climate Alliance, provide a wealth of empirical evidence to illustrate some of the core concepts formulated to explain how to produce usable information and how to link research to decision making. Through these four case studies of co-production, the authors identify three findings that bridge principles and practice: each utility engaged in contextualizing research; in building and leveraging knowledge networks; and in embracing an entrepreneurial approach to their research agenda. In several instances, unanticipated but innovative assessment techniques were developed by science partners in collaboration with water utilities to fit the utility’s specific needs.

The paper concludes by discussing some of the hard realities of co-production illustrated by these cases that should be kept in mind by people contemplating similar projects.

Access the full article.
North America