This report summarizes results from my first year’s iUTAH fellowship (2012-13), which involved exploratory, qualitative research on local water management in the Wasatch Regional Metropolitan Area, specifically focusing on Cache Valley, Heber Valley, and the Red Butte Watershed of Salt Lake City, Utah. Data collection consisted of two types of activities: meeting observations and semi-structured interviews. I reviewed meeting notes and synthetic notes for prevailing themes, and distinguished between patterns that emerged both within and across the three study areas.
The structure of water management in the WRMA crosses macro-institutional, meso-watershed, and micro-individual scales. The focus of my research has been at the meso-scale, within which many local water management organizations (LWMOs) make critical decisions surrounding water quality and quantity. In this first phase of my work, I identify five types of key organization decisions made by LWMOs: operational, maintenance, water supply, infrastructure change, and enforcement. I then describe four types of linkages among WRMA water actors and provide examples of how these linkages impact LWMOs’ decisions. I then describe and analyze the ways in which LWMOs are making adaptive decisions in the face of key changes in urbanization and water availability. Two common adaptive processes are: (a) improving infrastructure efficiency, and (b) engaging in organizational partnerships. The report concludes with directions for future research. The LWMO interview instrument is included in the appendix.
Cache Valley,Heber Valley,adaptation,local water management organizations,water management,interview,meeting observations,iUTAH