As the Florida Water and Climate Alliance (FloridaWCA) celebrates its 10th anniversary, some of its members present a case study of its history, achievements, and lessons learned as an example of a successful stakeholder-scientist partnership to incorporate actionable climate information in decision making. Established in 2010 with the support of the Southeastern Climate Consortium (SECC), a CPO Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments team from 1999-2014, and funded by CPO’s Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP) in 2011 and 2012, the FloridaWCA consists of university researchers, public utility water resource managers and operators, water management district personnel, and local planners engaged in a sustained collaboration to develop, share, and apply cutting-edge research to Florida water management and distribution. Prior to its inception, survey results in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida showed a significant lack of use and awareness of seasonal climate and drought forecast information by water resource managers. Now self-funded, the group has since helped increase the relevance of climate science data and tools at time and space scales needed to support decision-making in water resource management, planning, and supply operations in Florida. The value of how stakeholder-scientist partnerships, like the FloridaWCA, may inform infrastructure in a changing world was highlighted in the fourth National Climate Assessment.
The FloridaWCA has led to some significant changes in some utilities’ operational practices. For example, the operations of the Aquifer Storage and Recovery wells are now informed by CPC seasonal forecasts in the case of Peace River Authority. Today, the group continues to evolve as a successful two-way model of cross-sector scientist and practitioner interaction, with the hope to expand the network’s shared learning, access to resources, and potential for defining further research of specific interest to the stakeholders throughout the Southeast United States and beyond.