Our proposed project will improve understanding of the interplay between Appalachian water system management (including regionalization and extension) and a range of environmental and social processes, with implications for water quality and social outcomes.
After learning from and engaging in ongoing community-led, participatory water system testing in Appalachia with our project partners within and outside Ohio State (Objective 1), we will build on these methods to apply systems theory to parallel water quality assessments and interviews with individuals to assess barriers and leverage points relevant for reform of water system management (Objective 2).
By building on our partners’ work and our unique interdisciplinary expertise and connectivity throughout the region, we will inform Appalachians with co-produced knowledge of their water systems. This work and future efforts rooted in community empowerment will foster broader intra-regional understanding of Appalachian water system management strategies for the greatest water quality and socioeconomic sustainability of water systems (Objective 3).
The relationships and model we propose to develop will inform strategies to address critical Appalachian water infrastructure needs from strategic planning.