Water and Agriculture in Central Arizona: Adapting to New Scenarios
Cathy Rubinos1, Abigail M. York1, Hallie Eakin1, Rimjhim Aggarwal1, Julia Chrissie Bausch1, Skaidra Smith-Heisters1, Summer Waters2, Marty Anderies1
1Arizona State University, 2University of Arizona Cooperative Extension,
Water management in Arizona has always been a challenge, but water crises have been successfully overcome in the past. Arizona is now in a new setting, where pressure on water use - caused by urban growth and a strong agricultural sector - is increasing. This, combined with new scenarios of ‘megadroughts’ exacerbated by climate change, is increasing concern over the potential for water scarcity. To assure an adequate management of water resources, current policies may need to be changed, resulting in more restrictive rules for water users. It is thus important to anticipate how farmers, as main water users, would react to these new changes, and recommend policies to pursue favorable social impacts. In this paper, we measured the adaptive capacity of farmers in Central Arizona, using Marshall et al.’s (2007) framework for evaluating the social resilience of natural resource-based communities. We analyzed the results of a survey of Central Arizona commodity producers (n=52), using Principal Component Analysis. We evaluated farmers’ potential responses to anticipated change events according to three key characteristics: (1) the perception of risk in approaching change, (2) perception of the ability to cope with change; and (3) the ability to plan, learn, and reorganize. We found that farmers’ climate-sensitive decisions are determined by three main dimensions: (1) if they are advice-seeking (2) how active and networking oriented they are, and (3) their financial situation and their ability to develop strategies.