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.


Retardant drop Cal Fire S2T

March 4 DCDC Water/Climate Briefing

Climate Change Risk: Extreme Fires and Post-Fire Flooding

Fires are an annual risk for Arizona’s forests which seem to be getting more frequent and catastrophic as our climate becomes hotter and drier. Often after a forest fire, storms can create post-fire floods that cause even more damage.

Our March Water/Climate Briefing will explore extreme fires and their post-fire floods within the context of heightened climate change risk.

Panelists will discuss how the ecology of Arizona forests are changing in response to climatic conditions and how this affects the risks of forest fires, damage fires, and post-fire floods.

What is the impact on forests, communities, and local economies? How is climate change creating larger storms which in turn create larger risks of severe post-fire floods?

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As the River Runs Dry: The Southwest’s Water Crisis

By Brandon Loomis and Mark Henle, The Republic |

LAS VEGAS – The patroller stopped his water district truck and grabbed his camcorder.

“Here we go,” he said, sliding from the cab and pointing his lens at the fine spray of water and rainbow rising from pop-up sprinklers on the lawn of a low-slung ranch home.

“Thursday,” he spoke, recording the day as evidence. No watering allowed on Thursdays.

Welcome to the future, where every drop of Colorado River water is guarded and squeezed. Only here, in the city that gets 90 percent of its water from the fickle and fading river, the future is now.

The vast and highly urbanized Southwest, built on the promise of a bountiful river propped up by monumental dams, is up against its limits. Already tapped beyond its supply, the river is now threatened by a warming climate that shrinks its alpine source.

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New DCDC Publication

Planning for Demand Uncertainty in Integrated Water Resource Management


Ray Quay, Decision Center for a Desert City

Because water supply and demand face equally uncertain futures, a strategy that considers their relationship and anticipates a range of possible future scenarios for these two fundamental aspects of water use might be the wisest approach for water resource managers.

Uncertainty has been a driving factor in water resource planning for several decades, particularly in arid regions and in those with a high degree of interannual variability in precipitation.

In the last few decades, anticipatory governance has emerged as an approach for planning under conditions of high uncertainty.

In shifting from a predict-and-plan approach, water resource managers are anticipating a wide range of futures, developing response strategies, and adapting to anticipated changes as needed.

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