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Environ Manage. 2010 May;45(5):1231-42. doi: 10.1007/s00267-010-9459-5. Epub 2010 Mar 11.

Analyzing the data-rich-but-information-poor syndrome in Dutch water management in historical perspective.

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Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Water Management, The Hague, Netherlands.


Water quality monitoring has developed over the past century from an unplanned, isolated activity into an important discipline in water management. This development also brought about a discontent between information users and information producers about the usefulness and usability of information, in literature often referred to as the data-rich-but-information-poor syndrome. This article aims to gain a better understanding of this issue by studying the developments over some five decades of Dutch national water quality monitoring, by analyzing four studies in which the role and use of information are discussed from different perspectives, and by relating this to what is considered in literature as useful information. The article concludes that a "water information gap" exists which is rooted in different mutual perceptions and expectations between the two groups on what useful information is, that can be overcome by improving the communication. Such communication should be based on willingness to understand and deal with different mindframes and should be based on a methodology that guides and structures the interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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