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Water Decisions for Sustainability of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer Heather Lazrus And Erin Towler, Debasish PaiMazumder, Rebecca Morss – National Center.

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Presentation on theme: "Water Decisions for Sustainability of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer Heather Lazrus And Erin Towler, Debasish PaiMazumder, Rebecca Morss – National Center."— Presentation transcript:

1 Water Decisions for Sustainability of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer Heather Lazrus And Erin Towler, Debasish PaiMazumder, Rebecca Morss – National Center for Atmospheric Research With Renee McPherson – University of Oklahoma Climate Information for Managing Risks In Water Resources 21 February, 2014

2 Funded through the SARP program Lazrus - PI, Anthropology, Renee McPherson - co-PI, Meteorology, New collaborators sitting in the Regional Climate Section, NCAR – Debasish PaiMazumder, Climatology – Erin Towler, Hydrology/Ecology – Rebecca Morss, Meteorology and Communication


4 More than 2.8 billion people in 48 countries will face water scarcity conditions by 2025 (Source: Population Action International)

5 What does diminishing water availability mean locally? A confluence of factors: Weather and climate patterns Economic systems and drivers Policy frameworks Water management Access to water – E.g., Dust Bowl  Management decisions

6 Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer: Water Decisions How much groundwater can be extracted to “not reduce the natural streamflow?” Reduce maximum annual yield from 2 acre feet/acre to 0.2 acre feet/acre

7 Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer, OK Aquifer groundwater levels are associated with drought. Sampled wells in Chickasaw Nation Instrumentation of the Arbuckle- Simpson Aquifer GW Level (ft) 40 30 20 10 Drought Index (PDSI)

8 Project Research Questions How do stakeholders in the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer of south-central Oklahoma perceive drought risks across weather and climate scales, and how do these perceptions guide water management decisions (preferences) given (i)diverse cultural beliefs, (ii)valued hydro/ecological services, (iii)past drought experience, and (iv)uncertainties in historical assessments and future projections of precipitation, temperature, and drought?

9 Power of interdisciplinary collaboration is understanding different pieces of the drought puzzle to see the whole picture Diverse cultural beliefs Valued ecosystem services Past drought experiences Climate projections

10 Interviews (open- and closed-ended questions, n ~ 40) Decision makers and managers (i.e., cities of Ada, Sulphur, and Tishmingo) Community leaders Industry association members (i.e., ranching, farming, mining) Engaged citizens (i.e., Citizens for the Protection of the Arbuckle- Simpson Aquifer (CPASA)) Chickasaw Nation

11 Risk perceptions  Decisions Cultural Theory of Risk “The perception of risk is a social process. Preferences for risk …can be explained by the function those preferences serve for an individual’s way of life.” Thomson, Ellis, & Wildavsky (1990:63) Common Pool Resources “[Decision] are those of broadly rational individuals who find themselves in complex and uncertain situations. An individual’s choice of behavior … will depend on how the individual learns about, views, and weighs the benefits and costs of actions.” Ostrom (1990:33)

12 Diverse beliefs – Cultural Theory of Risk

13 Example closed-ended survey questions: [Egalitarian measure] Question 15b: Water should be managed by a communal process in which everyone has an equal say. [Individualist measure] Question 15c: Restrictions on how property owners can use water on their property are an infringement of individual rights.

14 Example open-ended responses: “As populations increase, and the closer we get to having a serious drought, the less sustainable [current water management] actually is....At this point, they’re quite clueless about how close to the edge they are.” – Egalitarian perspective “ And once those rules are set you can’t have a bunch of water Nazis trying to make judgment calls about how someone’s using their water. So, if I can use a certain amount – tell me what that amount is, and then stay the hell out of my business.” -Individualist perspective

15 Egalitarian index and Individualist Index negatively correlated (r = -0.85, p < 0.01) (Courtesy Julie Demuth)

16 Ecosystem values: “How important is water in your community for….”

17 Variability in “Importance of Water for Recreation” is partially explained (R 2 =.34) by worldview. Other factors (e.g., human behavior) also contribute. Measure of Worldview Importance of Water for Recreation EgalitarianIndividualist 17

18 Next step is to take drought projections to estimate future likelihoods

19 Drought Probability of “Moderate Drought” (PDSI < -2) Corresponds to below a groundwater level of 30 feet Varied over recent decades:

20 Past drought experiences: Have you experienced droughts in the past? What was the worst drought you experienced? Why was it so bad? Hot temperatures, high nighttime temps Lack of precipitation High winds Prolonged, “started off behind” Areas dry not seen before Widespread Lasted several consecutive years Pennington Creek dried up

21 Putting it all together: A GIS application Collaboration with NCAR GIS Program and Chickasaw Nation – Scott Ketchum Novel way to displayed data to citizens and decision makers Publicly accessible on internet and area community centers: drought/index.html

22 Summary Risk as a function of impacts and social relations and values (e.g., risk perceptions) How risk perceptions guide water management preferences and decision making – Understand conflict over water management Towards decisions for sustainability that reflect diverse perceptions of risk Next steps: Proposals to test framework in other contexts and contribute to early warning systems

23 Thank you! This project is funded by award #NA11OAR4310205 from the Sectoral Application Research Program of the NOAA Climate Program Office, with additional support from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Oklahoma. NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation Views and opinions are those of the authors. Heather Lazrus - Project website:

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