Project Report PR-94-04
Kailua Bay Studies: Community Interaction (KB-1)
Philip Moravcik and Leroy Heitz
A community interaction project was included as a component of the overall Kailua Bay water quality and water circulation studies. The intended purpose of the community interaction activities was to keep concerned residents of Kailua informed about the activities and progress of the scientific studies that the Water Resources Research Center was conducting. A further goal of the project was to involve the Kailua residents as sources of input in the planning stages of the study and to give interested persons an opportunity to participate actively in the scientific studies. The project fell short of achieving these goals in several areas. No mechanism was ever successfully implemented to solicit constructive input from the community and no community resident ever became actively involved in the research. Involving the community in scientific research projects introduces organizational difficulties into the process of study design which has traditionally been conducted between contractor and contractee. Some suggestions for how community involvement might be accomplished in future projects are included. Difficulties in communicating research findings arose from the fact that some members of the community would not believe the results of the studies that were conducted, preferring instead to believe the many rumors and anecdotes that circulated concerning water quality in Kailua Bay. The logic behind this preference seems to be related to a generalized mistrust of government and science. The reasons for this phenomenon extend into the fields of psychology and risk perception.