The Role of Knowledge in Water Resource Management: An Assessment of the Oregon General Public

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Oregon has a long-held reputation of water abundance, however water shortages and droughts throughout the state reveal this is not an accurate perception. Projected climate change impacts and population growth are expected to exacerbate Oregon’s water situation. This study assessed public knowledge holding concerning the state’s water resources. In the spring 2010 a survey questionnaire was distributed to 1,563 randomly selected Oregon households to elicit their water knowledge and use of information sources. The study found public self-assessed level of knowledge was low to moderate, and education was not a significant factor in their knowledge. Effective sources to gain information about water were rarely used by the public. These findings can assist water resource managers in Oregon and throughout the United States as they develop and implement governance strategies.