How is climate and other stressors affecting water allocation in complex river basins?
In water resources systems, planning needs to balance competing needs across multiple stakeholders. Working with partners in the Upper Colorado River Basin and other collaborators, we have applied exploratory modeling, sensitivity analysis and machine learning methods to investigate how water allocation in the basin might be affected by hydroclimatic and other changes. Our continued work in this and similar basins illuminates the complex ways these stressors shape water scarcity.
How are human systems interacting with each other and with environmental systems across scales?
Large river basins support a multitude of critical activities ranging from power generation and agricultural production, to municipal supply and ecosystem services. As such, they are compelling exhibits of the dynamic interactions between water, land, and energy domains. Feedbacks between these systems can compound shocks and jeopardize their resilience, with a failure in one propagating in another. Our work develops analytical frameworks that allow as to untangle these relationships and inform the management of risks across systems and scales.
How can we capture network effects and interactions between users of water in multi-actor river basins?
Complex network behavior is often at the heart of socio-environmental systems with large numbers of interacting stakeholders. Network science and complex adaptive systems theory can be applied to better understand such systems, especially in scarce resource contexts where multiple stakeholders compete. Our research in this area aims to employ such methods to help inform future policy and ensure the systems' long-term resilience and sustainability, as well as resource equity among their users.