Decision Center for a Desert City

Conducting climate, water, and decision research and developing innovative tools to bridge the boundary between scientists and decision makers and put our work into the hands of those whose concern is for the sustainable future of Greater Phoenix.

Spotlight

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Water Security and the Worth of Arizona Agriculture

An ASU Video Production

In a video distributed on April 9, 2014, Dave White, Mike Lacey, Ron Raynor, and Brian Betcher discuss the issue of water usage in agriculture, which uses two-thirds of Arizona’s water demand.

Central Arizona has a rich history of agriculture, contributing $9.2 billion toward the state’s economy. That water has near-absolute power in determining the region’s fate is not an over-reaching assumption. With increasing urban development and uncertain climate, is this industry doomed or can it be sustained?

Interviewees

Dave White, co-director of DCDC
Mike Lacey, director, Arizona Department of Water Resources
Ron Raynor, Owner, A Tumbling-T Ranches in Goodyear
Brian M. Betcher, Maricopa Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District

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News

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The Last Drop?

By Christopher Vaughan for ASU Magazine

When ASU professor Enrique Vivoni brings American students across the border to Mexico, it’s an eye-opener for them. As part of the US/Mexico Border Water and Environmental Sustainability Training Program, Vivoni works regularly with American and Mexican students on both sides of the border to help them gain a deeper understanding of the water scarcity problems in the Arizona-Sonora desert region.

When the students see the many water problems that Phoenix has solved but Mexico is still working on, the common reaction is “I didn’t realize we had it so good,” Vivoni says.

Over the last century, Arizona has created hydrological solutions that have allowed us to populate the desert and made access to water a “soft” problem that most people don’t need to think about, Vivoni says.

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Research

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New DCDC Publication

Priorities in Residential Water Use: A Trade-Off Analysis

Authors: Edward Sadalla, Anna Berlin, Rebecca Neel, Susan Ledlow

A trade-off paradigm was used to examine priorities in residential water use.

A total of 426 participants allocated either a small or large budget to various household water uses. A comparison of allocations across budget conditions revealed which water uses were regarded as most important, as well as the amount of water regarded as sufficient for each use.

Further analyses focused on the perceived importance of outdoor water use, which accounts for the majority of the water used in residences. Data indicated that indoor uses, especially those related to health and sanitation, were consistently higher priorities for participants in this study.

The finding that residents are more willing to curtail outdoor water use than indoor water use has important implications for behavior change campaigns.

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