Social science in a water observing system

We set forth an argument for the integration of social science research with natural science and engineering research in major research infrastructure investments addressing water science. A program of integrated observation of water resources offers great opportunities to address several environmental ‘‘grand challenges’’ identified by the National Research Council, including climate variability, institutions and resource use, and land use dynamics, and their importance for hydrologic forecasting. We argue that such a program has the potential to advance both water science and the contributing disciplines. However, to realize this potential, it is essential to recognize that social science requires critical infrastructure funding on the scale of advanced research facilities in the natural sciences and engineering