Water RAPIDS Program Creates Collaborative 'Atlas' to Address Water Scarcity

Friday, March 7, 2014

The University of Arizona's Water RAPIDS program is helping southeastern Arizona's water-stressed Upper Gila Watershed plan for a sustainable future water supply.

Through a unique collaborative process involving UA Cooperative Extension in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Gila Watershed Partnership of Arizona – a community-based effort that designs projects to address watershed issues and seeks funding to implement them – the Water RAPIDS team created an informative "atlas" of knowledge on the watershed, charting its history and changing conditions to help inform future planning.

"Watershed" refers to an area of land where all the water under it or draining off it goes into the same place.

"In order to plan for the future, we need to have a thorough, common understanding of where the watershed stands today, and how it got there," said Kelly Mott Lacroix, program analyst for Water RAPIDS, which stands for Research And Planning Innovations for Dryland Systems.

"We created the atlas of the Upper Gila River Watershed together with the people who live and work there, to help them answer some really important questions about the future of their watershed," Lacroix said.

One such question is: Will the Gila Valley have enough water to maintain its economy, community and natural environment?

Unlike many other water planning tools, the "Atlas of the Upper Gila River Watershed" was created from the input of those who will use it, through workshops and meetings to determine useful content and format. Many of these same stakeholders will continue to meet with the RAPIDS team over the coming year to help inform the next steps of the process: preparing to manage future water supplies.

Read more from this March 5 UANews article at the link below.

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