Event Title

Geopolitical Influences on Human Vulnerability to Drought

Presenter Information

Lisa Welsh
Lawrence Hipps

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/

Start Date

4-20-2010 10:40 AM

End Date

4-20-2010 10:45 AM

Description

Human vulnerability to drought is contextual and shaped by political, institutional, geographic, economic, and social structures. In the Bear River Basin, a watershed located in the juncture of Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho, water managers must manage water for multiple uses, often in times of drought. For water management purposes, the Basin is divided into three regions: Lower Division, Central Division, and Upper Division. The geopolitical locations of the divisions influence water users' vulnerabilities to variable and scarce water supplies. Users in the Lower Division are below Bear Lake, a natural large storage reservoir, and are able to depend on storage water for drought relief. Users in the Upper Division do not have access to storage water that they can rely on during scarce water times. People involved with Basin water management explain that the Upper Division's lack of reliance on storage water has made the users more accustomed to a variable water supply. The Upper Division experiences greater exposure to water scarcity, and this increased exposure has forced users to develop a higher adaptive capacity to drought with an agricultural economy that expects a variable supply of water. Alternatively, users in the Lower Division operate as if they have a constant, dependable water supply and are impacted more severely by drought. Interviews provide in-depth perspectives on the driving forces of vulnerability in the three divisions. Preliminary results suggest that vulnerability and human adaptability are contextual, and reducing vulnerability to drought requires more than technical solutions in water delivery and storage.

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Apr 20th, 10:40 AM Apr 20th, 10:45 AM

Geopolitical Influences on Human Vulnerability to Drought

Eccles Conference Center

Human vulnerability to drought is contextual and shaped by political, institutional, geographic, economic, and social structures. In the Bear River Basin, a watershed located in the juncture of Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho, water managers must manage water for multiple uses, often in times of drought. For water management purposes, the Basin is divided into three regions: Lower Division, Central Division, and Upper Division. The geopolitical locations of the divisions influence water users' vulnerabilities to variable and scarce water supplies. Users in the Lower Division are below Bear Lake, a natural large storage reservoir, and are able to depend on storage water for drought relief. Users in the Upper Division do not have access to storage water that they can rely on during scarce water times. People involved with Basin water management explain that the Upper Division's lack of reliance on storage water has made the users more accustomed to a variable water supply. The Upper Division experiences greater exposure to water scarcity, and this increased exposure has forced users to develop a higher adaptive capacity to drought with an agricultural economy that expects a variable supply of water. Alternatively, users in the Lower Division operate as if they have a constant, dependable water supply and are impacted more severely by drought. Interviews provide in-depth perspectives on the driving forces of vulnerability in the three divisions. Preliminary results suggest that vulnerability and human adaptability are contextual, and reducing vulnerability to drought requires more than technical solutions in water delivery and storage.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2010/Posters/12