Aug 22

Mountain water towers

What do the Himalayas, Andes, and Rockies have in common?  Over half of humanity, and critical ecosystems, depend on the water they store and release.  They play a central role in food security, regional hydroclimatic processes, spiritual identity, and recreation and place-based values. Yet, they all face pressures from climate change, warming, dams and infrastructure development. The Water Resources and Policy Group has ongoing collaboration, research and action links, plus science-policy focused on these critical water towers.  aconcagua5nnmount_kailash_4white mountains

Feb 11

Water Security in the Arid Americas

Water security constitutes the sustainable availability of adequate quantities and qualities of water for resilient societies and ecosystems in the face of uncertain global change.  Our definition introduces the resilience dimension as necessary, because more static conceptualizations of water security inadequately address mutually interactive coupled human-natural dynamics and therefore, may overlook possibilities for recovery from water insecurity.” [Scott, C.A., F.J. Meza, R.G. Varady, H. Tiessen, J. McEvoy, G.M. Garfin, M. Wilder, L.M. Farfán, N. Pineda Pablos, E. Montaña. 2013. Water security and adaptive management in the arid Americas. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103(2).]

Ongoing collaboration on water security spans the Southwest U.S., Northwest Mexico, Northeast Brazil, Central Chile, Northwest Argentina, and Southwest Peru.  See also: Scott, C.A., R.G. Varady, F. Meza, E. Montaña, G.B. de Raga, B. Luckman, C. Martius. 2012. Science-policy dialogues for water security: addressing vulnerability and adaptation to global change in the arid Americas. Environment 54(3): 30-42.


AQUASEC Center of Excellence for Water Security – launched in Santiago, Chile in March 2012, with further public dissemination at the May 2012 Adaptation Futures International Conference on Climate Adaptation in Tucson, Arizona.

Oct 11

The Yaqui River Basin in Northwest Mexico-Southwest U.S.: Complexity, resilience, and the struggle for water

The Yaqui River Basin (YRB) is the largest in northwest Mexico, both in terms of area and volume of flow. Water resources in the region are under increasing stress due to intensive use for agriculture and urban growth, compounded by climate change and variability. Currently the basin is in the middle of a struggle between Hermosillo and Cajeme municipalities because of a new policy plan aimed at bringing water from the Yaqui river to Hermosillo city, the capital of the State. The region’s social complexity is increased because of the presence of the Yaqui indigenous population which represented 2.3% of the Sonora state population of the basin in 2008. The basin is shared among sectoral uses, across ethnic, state and international boundaries, and poses critical human-ecosystem tradeoffs. These conditions stress the need for adaptive management strategies in the face of global change processes including climate change and growing human and ecosystem needs for water. Our team’s interests focus on these adaptive strategies to enhance the resilience of the YRB social-ecological system.

Do you want to know more about the Yaqui River Basin? Please see:

Download YRB’s Fact sheet in Spanish
Download YRB’s Fact sheet in English
Download YRB’s Fact sheet in Portuguese

Sep 13

Welcome to Water Resources and Policy Group (by Christopher Scott)

The grand challenge we address is sustaining societies coupled with their physical environments. Applied interdisciplinary research on water, agriculture, energy, and climate allows us to engage decision-makers and other stakeholders to strengthen resilience to global change.

We have ongoing work in the Southwest U.S., Mexico, Chile, Brazil, India, and Nepal. Current areas of research and outreach (with funding sources) include:

• Resilience of riparian socio-ecological systems (National Science Foundation – Coupled Natural-Human Systems)

• Water security and adaptive management (Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research)

• Transboundary water and climate (Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Geological Survey)

• Irrigation, agricultural-urban water transfers (International Water Management Institute)

• The water–energy nexus (National Science Foundation – Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructures)

• Water and growth (US Geological Survey, US Bureau of Reclamation)

• Effluent and wastewater management and policy (National Science Foundation, WateReuse Research Foundation)