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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Upper San Pedro Basin: Fostering Collaborative Binational Watershed Management 1712

Authors
item Browning-Aiken, A. - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
item Richter, H. - THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
item Goodrich, David
item Strain, B. - COUNCILMAN SIERRA VISTA
item Varady, R. - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Submitted to: Water Resources Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 2004
Publication Date: September 1, 2004
Citation: Browning-Aiken, A., Richter, H., Goodrich, D.C., Strain, B., Varady, R.G. 2004. The Upper San Pedro Basin: Fostering collaborative binational watershed management. J. Water Resources Development; 20(3): 353-367.

Interpretive Summary: Arid and semi-arid regions account for approximately one-third of the land mass of earth. These regions are experiencing continued pressure from population growth in many parts of the world. Water is a critical resource in these regions and is often in short supply. To maintain the economic, social, and ecological viability of these areas it is essential that decision makers and resource managers have a solid scientific basis on which to make watershed based decisions. This paper describes the challenges of truly collaborative, scientifically-based, watershed management. These challenges are compounded in the bi-national San Pedro River Basin. Based on our experiences in working with policy and decision-makers in the San Pedro we propose a process for fostering collaboration in binational basin. A key aspect of this process is the successful engagement of scientists with community decision-makers and land managers. This requires a long-term commitment by both parties to build trust and establish effective communication to approach problem solving and resource management.

Technical Abstract: Successful binational planning and management of water resources is a complex process dependent upon informed decision-making across diverse economic, social and political sectors. Additional technical and scientific information is often required as a part of this process. A critical factor in this process is how effectively social and physical scientists can help to build collaboration and trust among stakeholders, water and land managers, and policy-makers. Within the international San Pedro River Basin, disparities between Mexico and the United States regarding economic development and political orientation, combined with a highly variable and complex physical setting, suggest that the successful engagement of scientists with communities and stakeholders will be essential for addressing water management challenges. Based upon concepts associated with collective action theory, adaptive management, and conflict resolution, we propose a process for fostering collaborative binational water management in basins such as the San Pedro that span international borders.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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