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- SW Climate
The period 2000-2006 was the Colorado watershed’s driest in the historical record, dating back to 1861. The critical water problem in the Colorado Delta region affects communities in southwestern Arizona, Baja California and Sonora. The Colorado River’s resources are over-allocated to seven western states in the U.S. and two in Mexico, and the water shortages have been heightened by fast-growing urban populations and intensified agricultural use on both sides of the border. The Colorado Delta supports significant remnant wetland areas of high biodiversity and important riparian habitats for endangered species, such as the vaquita porpoise, the Yuma clapper rail, the bobcat, and the desert pupfish. As drought, climate change, and policy decisions reduce the water flows in the Colorado River, the Delta’s wetlands are being reduced and impaired. These riparian areas are also important to thousands of people living in or near the Delta, who rely upon the riparian resources for ecotourism, hunting and fishing, and family recreation. This project assesses how local communities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border use and value these riparian resources. The project also seeks to understand the role of climate perception and climate information in shaping decision-making processes about environmental resources in the region.
The project has centered on three kinds of stakeholders: first, decisionmakers from government, non-governmental organizations, and academia who help shape policy that affects the land and water resources in this region; second, individual households in U.S. and Mexican local communities within the region; and third, civic groups active within the region.