ds-001

Melding Hydrologic and Social Research to Increase Rural Adaptive Capacity Through Real-Time Irrigation Diversion Data Delivery

Published Date:

TBD

Authors:

Conrad Lily M.; Fernald Alexander G.; Taylor Marshall A.; Guldan Steven J.; Ochoa Carlos G.

Abstract:

There is a need to support applied, community-relevant hydrologic research within changing climate, population, and socio-economic conditions to better inform water policy and management. We hypothesized that providing a rural agricultural community in a semi-arid valley with the necessary monitoring tools to meet local water management needs would increase adaptive capacity and individual adaptive capacity indicators within the context of significantly decreasing streamflow since 1976 (p = 0.0251). Through a community science approach, researchers:

  1. Installed a telemetry monitoring system at participating acequias irrigation diversions that remotely sent water data to a web interface every fifteen minutes and
  2. Designed a web interface to meet community needs and preferences.

Two surveys distributed before and after web interface access to individuals within the community targeted seven adaptive capacity indicators. After the first season of improved data accessibility and web interface use, the following adaptive capacity indicators exhibited statistically significant increases:

  • Information Diversity (p = 0.0022)
  • Cognitive Social Capital (p = 0.0177)
  • Leadership (p = 0.0004)

This is the first study we know of within water resources science that addressed community concern with a tool and subsequently quantified the tool’s impact on adaptive capacity with robust and adaptable survey methodology. This study demonstrates that bridging the gap between community need and hydrologic research through community science and stakeholder engagement provides significant benefits for rural irrigation communities and further supports problem-driven water resources research in irrigation communities coping with changing and unpredictable climates.

Download:

Data Set 001

Keywords:

irrigation; drought; monitoring; public participation; water use; acequias