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.



April 8 DCDC Water/Climate Briefing

Land-use Change and its Effects on the North American Monsoon

If you missed seeing the Water/Climate Briefing in person, check out the video!

Southern Arizona and New Mexico receive 40-60% of their annual rainfall in the summer, as part of the North American Monsoon (NAM).

Modeling studies suggest that 15-25% of this rainfall first falls on Mexican land, is transpired by vegetation, and subsequently is transported northward across the border to the US.

The natural ecosystems in Sierra Madre Occidental and the adjacent Gulf of California are known for their rapid greening and large transpiration rates at the onset of the monsoon, which promote the recycling of precipitation back into the atmosphere and facilitate further rainfall.

Two primary human activities have dramatically changed the region’s hydrologic cycle and evapotranspiration rates: irrigated agriculture and deforestation for grazing activities.

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In the Media

California’s Drought Preparation and Arizona’s Water Management

April 15, 2015
KJZZ’s Steve Goldstein interviews Dave White.
What Impact California’s Water Shortage Has On Arizona.

April 6, 2015
Radio KTAR’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes interview Ray Quay.
California’s severe water shortage and Arizona’s forward-thinking water management. Interview at 10:05-16:34 time signature.

April 3, 2015
Phoenix Channel 15’s Justin Pazera interviews Dave White.
California deals with severe water shortage while Arizona stockpiles supply.

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New DCDC Publication

Envisioning the Future of Water Governance: A Survey of Central Arizona Water Decision Makers

Authors: Dave White, Lauren Withycombe Keeler, Arnim Wiek, and Kelli Larson

The future of the American West depends on sustainable water resource governance. A variety of uncertainties associated with limited freshwater supplies, population growth, land use change, drought, and climate change impacts present substantial challenges.

To inform decision making, managers are adopting new techniques such as scenario planning to understand how water resources might change and what practices can support economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Scenario planning can be informed by understanding the normative future preferences of a variety of stakeholders, including decision makers, who influence water governance.

This article presents a survey of central Arizona decision makers to understand their visions for a desirable future for the water system in terms of supply, delivery, demand, outflow, and crosscutting activities.

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