Climate change impact on communally managed water systems

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Shared fates and experiences in a community can help it withstand changes to water availability due to climate change, a recent study by Sandia National Laboratories researchers found.

“During our research, a community’s ability to withstand natural and social pressures was routinely pinpointed to the fact that the people who live there feel like they are a community,” Thushara Gunda, a Sandia environmental engineer and the paper’s first author said. “The social fabric of the community, the mutualism, or sense of cohesion, is a really important factor that contributes to its resilience.”

Effects of climate change on communally managed water systems softened by shared effort

With changes in rainfall amounts, rising temperatures and population growth putting pressure on water resources around the globe, Sandia’s study adds to the understanding and predictability of how communities and water systems worldwide will fare during times of environmental or social change. The work, part of Sandia’s energy-water nexus program to help safeguard resilient and sustainable energy-water systems in the interest of national and global security, was recently published in a special socio-hydrology issue of Water Resources Research.

The research paired a dynamic systems model of an acequia community and its water system with a hydrology model of an upland water source to […]

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