Panel discussion: indicators for sustainable water resources in Georgia
Newcomb, P. J.
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Sustainability has been defined many ways, but most definitions include a vision of the future in which human activities maintain or improve the health of our social, economic, and ecological systems. The health of these systems can be monitored using appropriate indicators in ways that are similar to how individuals and health care providers monitor human health using measures such as oral temperature or blood pressure. However, just as no single measure is sufficient to judge the comprehensive health of an individual, a system as complex as Georgia’s water resources will require a collection of indicators – some agreeing but others probably conflicting, some that are local in scope but others that span across a region, and some that are easy to measure but others that are difficult to quantify. Sorting through this complexity, and developing consensus on a set of measures and how to interpret them is a difficult but important challenge. This panel discussion will address (1) the role of indicators in resource management, (2) previous work done in Georgia to develop indicators, and (3) the process that Georgia’s citizens, policy makers, businesses, and farmers need to engage in to develop a suite of indicators to help ensure sustainable water resources in Georgia.