National Water Quality Assessment Program Survey Results

In 2010, USGS’s National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program conducted a survey to collect input and recommendations for improved communications related to their products, web services, and social networking.  The August 2010 survey was distributed to 500 stakeholders from federal, state, and local government, consulting, academia, and non-governmental organizations. The results indicate that users are generally satisfied with the NAWQA information (over 90% satisfied or very satisfied with data provided).  Drinking water protection was the third most commonly reported use of NAWQA data (39%) behind policy development and resource assessment.

Specific actions planned by the NAWQA Program based on the feedback are listed below:

  • Email notifications of product releases will continue (supported by nearly 95 percent of those surveyed), but with recognizable and consistent subject lines. In addition, the Program will initiate bi-annual email-summaries of new products, tools, data, and graphics.
  • The Program will continue to explore and expand the use of social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) in concert with the USGS Office of Communications, but will primarily rely on email notifications, technical announcements, and press releases for communication of information releases and Program updates
  • NAWQA will continue to explore monitoring and assessment strategies needed to address stakeholder issues not fully included in its current design (such as sediment, pharmaceuticals, pathogens, and endocrine-disrupting compounds), and will continue its monitoring and assessment to track long-term issues (such as nutrients, pesticides, trace elements, and ecology).
  • The NAWQA website (supported by more than 90 percent of those surveyed) will remain a high priority for communicating findings, products, tools, maps, and graphics. More effort will be devoted to promoting its availability, such as through product-releases and through links to related websites and organizations.
  • Selected electronic products, cited as the preferred format, will be enhanced through embedded links to allow more friendly and efficient navigation within documents. This online enhancement primarily will focus on highly visible products, such as USGS Circulars, written for broad audiences.
  • The NAWQA Program will continue companion and derivative products with each major release (such as the Program’s Circular series) to meet the myriad of information needs of broad audiences (technical and non-technical).
  • The Program will continue to track and evaluate the use of audio and video core casts by stakeholders.
  • NAWQA will increase the visibility and usability of its online publications search engine, such as improving “keywords” that resonate more closely to stakeholder needs and searches.
  • NAWQA will evaluate role of the current data delivery tools (such as the data warehouse and water-quality exchange) and their relevance to stakeholder and Program needs.

Bi-annual web tracking will be set up to evaluate areas on the website that are most and least popular.