Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Research Project #440421

Research Project: Facilitating Water Adaptation in the Arid West

Location: Range Management Research

Project Number: 3050-12610-001-006-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: May 31, 2021
End Date: May 31, 2023

Our proposal builds upon an existing ERS effort to conduct an in-depth literature review and catalog water transaction information to describe water market and water adaptation efforts. We propose to work with ERS scientists to augment their efforts via supplying additional adaption information, linking with regional water managers and building a geospatial library of water adaptation projects to catalog, facilitate and encourage water adaptation efforts throughout the western U.S. This project relates to two objectives of the SWCH FY21 work plan: Objective 1: Improved knowledge of drought, water risks and water scarcity within region (Theme 1: Research, Science information synthesis; GOAL: Improved understanding of and solutions for future sustainability of southwestern and US Pacific agricultural, rangeland, forest and water systems under increasing climate variability and change (Executive committee goals: Goal 1, Goal 2, Goal 3) Objective 2: Supporting data-driven management decisions (Theme 2: Tool Development, Technology Exchange, and Implementation Assistance; Goal 2: Improved accessibility to information and tools to support resilience in southwestern systems and communities (Executive committee goals: Goal 1, Goal 3).

Project activities: 1. Work with ERS scientists to conduct and publish an extensive literature review. The literature review will include peer reviewed and gray literature highlighting novel approaches to enhance water use efficiency and productivity including but not limited to sensor technologies, irrigation application systems, water management practices, cropping and system design efficiencies, water banks, groundwater storage, economically viable water transfers. 2. Host listening sessions and conversations with irrigation districts, water masters, water resource research institutes and others to augment the literature review with other novel examples of water adaptation efforts and inform tool development (i.e. ensure that the tool provides information water adaptation professionals require). 3. Develop a prototype geospatial decision support tool (WATR). The tool will highlight key insights from the literature review and from ongoing USDA programs related to agriculture including water transactions, water banks and groundwater recharge efforts with the goal of providing a platform for knowledge transfer to foster future resilience. 4. Share WATR with the professional water management community via meetings, workshops and/or webinars to garner feedback and modify, as needed. Rely on existing SWCH relationships with ARS scientists, NRCS, climate service providers, the Drought Learning Network and others to share WATR broadly to support creative water adaptation solutions.