Water Supplies, Human Decisions, and Policy Institutions

Saturday, February 13, 2016: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Wilson A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Derek Kauneckis, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Climate change impacts on water resources in the western states have critical implications for water management.  This presentation will discuss current research on how to improve the climate resilience of Native communities in the American west.  Changes to water resources are particularly important for communities with a heavy reliance on agriculture and natural resources.  Understanding how to make communities more resilient to future climatic conditions will involve new partnerships in co-producing climate science and linking community decision making to actionable knowledge.   Native communities represent particular challenges to improving water management.  While native communities have proven to be resilient to historical marginalization, climate impacts may be outside the range of local adaptation strategies.  This presentation discusses the critical elements of understanding community resilience to climate change impacts in the context of Native American communities.  It looks at emerging research on resilient systems and the impact of existing policies on the adaptive capacity of communities.  Specific community characteristics include the structure of local economies, exposure to climate extremes, infrastructure investments, knowledge of the local ecology, and the system of water rights.  The presentation will discuss how the project has developed partnerships with communities to improve the resilience in ways that engage climate science in a manner respectful of tribal traditions, historic legacies, and the sovereignty of tribal lands.