Archive for November, 2013

Scaling water use estimates

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Early View article: “A Multi-Scale Analysis of Single-Family Residential Water Use in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area,” by Yun Ouyang, Elizabeth A. Wentz, Benjamin L. Ruddell, and Sharon L. Harlan.

Single-family residential water use research is often limited to using aggregated water data due to, for example, confidentiality restrictions on household-scale data. Water use data that are accessible to researchers may be aggregated to areal units, such as census blocks, census block groups, census tracts, and cities. To match the water use data, similarly aggregated data for the factors considered to influence water use should also be used. This may lead to an ecological fallacy problem, which can occur when the statistical analysis and conclusions based on aggregated data are not applicable at the individual scale. There is little, if any, empirical analysis that assesses whether spatial scale may cause an ecological fallacy problem in residential water use research. The goal of this study is to address this issue by using the Phoenix area, Arizona as a case study.

Three panel datasets with different spatial scales are used in this study: household scale, census tract scale, and city/town scale. The authors found that the census tract scale data produce similar results compared to the household-scale data when they use the econometric models to study the relationship of single-family residential water use and its determinants in Phoenix, Arizona. No significant ecological fallacy problem was identified by this comparative statistical analysis that is based on the signs, magnitude, and confidence intervals of the parameter estimates.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own.]

Stream restoration tested

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Early View article:Creating False Images: Stream Restoration in an Urban Setting,” by Kristan Cockerill and William P. Anderson Jr.

This article takes a critical before-and-after look at stream restoration in a case study of Boone Creek in North Carolina. The authors examine how well stream conditions, publicly stated project goals, and project implementation align. There are some good lessons to be learned from this study.

The experience on Boone Creek echoes much of the existing knowledge about stream restoration. This case study demonstrates little coordination among restoration plans and projects. Even though all of the projects were on one small creek, they were not coordinated. In addition, these projects showed disconnects among what pre-restoration monitoring data suggested were the problems on Boone Creek, what the stated restoration goals have been, and what has been implemented.

What these projects have accomplished is to protect the built environment and promote positive public perception. The authors argue that these disconnects among publicized goals for restoration, the implemented features, and actual stream conditions may create a false image of what an ecologically stable stream looks like and therefore perpetuate a false sense of optimism about the feasibility of restoring urban streams.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own.]

AE, Regional Hydrology and Water Quality

Monday, November 18th, 2013
I am pleased to announce that Dr. Parker J. (Jim) Wigington, Jr. has joined our team as Associate Editor for Regional Hydrology and Water Quality. Jim, who served as an Associate Editor a few years ago, recently retired from EPA, Corvallis after a long and eminent career. He is one of the more highly published authors in our field. Jim now lives in California and wants to remain active in science.
Jim’s title is deliberately somewhat general, as I plan to use his broad skills to help pick up our increasing load in many areas. Please join me in welcoming Jim Wigington to the JAWRA Editorial Team.

Delay in catching up

Monday, November 11th, 2013

I came back from Portland with a terrible cold. This set back my catching-up efforts. So, if you are waiting on some decision, please be patient. I will be up to speed this coming week.

Greetings from Portland

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

I’m spending the week in Portland at the AWRA Annual Conference. We’re having a great meeting, with over 500 attendees. A friend of mine once remarked regarding Portland weather, that the summers made the winters worthwhile. Well, I’m afraid we’ve caught the beginning of the winter pattern. The photo on the right was taken in the one hour of good weather I’ve seen. Gray weather notwithstanding, I’ve enjoyed meeting with old friends and making new ones.

We held our annual JAWRA Associate Editor’s Lunch on Monday. Hannah Smith, our Wiley manager joined us, and talked about the coming Wiley app. (More about that in a later posting.)

Susan was out here too, but is now back at work. I expect her to fill up my work queues for my return later this week. For now, I’m enjoying Portland. Wish you were here!

Portland registration problems?

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

[I am repeating this notice here, in case anybody missed it from the AWRA home page.]

Due to a vendor error, AWRA HQ is currently experiencing a phone and internet outage. For those attending the 2013 AWRA Annual Conference, that need to register or have last minute questions, please visit the On-site Registration Desk at the Red Lion Hotel, beginning Sunday Nov. 3rd at 4pm.