Water Security in the Arid Americas


Protesters in Mendoza, Argentina, 2011, want "Hands off the glaciers!" Photo: Marcelo Giraud.

Lead CCASS Contact: Christopher Scott

This project proposes to assess current and future water security in the arid Americas through a comparative lens on river basin human-environment dynamics. With partners from institutions in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, and through iterative engagement with regional stakeholders, the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy will project future water quality and quantity scenarios in six principal river basins (Maipo River Basin, Chile; Mendoza River Basin, Argentina; Capibaribe River Basin, Brazil; Sonora River Basin, Mexico; Santa Cruz River Basin, USA; and Piura River Basin, Peru), all of which experience urban-rural competition for water. We will also conduct this research for five analog basins, which have previously experienced or will experience conditions of change analogous to those in the principal basins. The analog basins are the Elqui River Basin, Chile; Tunuyán River Basin, Argentina; Pajeú River Basin, Brazil; Yaqui River Basin, Mexico; San Bernardino River Basin, USA; and Lambayeque River Basin, Peru. The goal of this research is to strengthen decision-making under uncertainty in these arid regions.

Related publications: 

  • Scott, C.A., F. J. Meza , R.G. Varady , H. Tiessen , J. McEvoy , G.M. Garfin , M. Wilder , L.M. Farfán , N. Pineda Pablos, and E. Montaña, 2013. Water security and adaptive management in the arid Americas, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 103:2, 280-289, DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2013.754660 
  • Scott, C.A., R.G. Varday, F. Meza, E. Montana, G.B. de Raga, B. Luckman,and C. Martius, 2012. Science-policy dialogues for water security: Addressing vulnerability and adaptation to global change in the arid Americas. Environment, 54(3): 30-42.

Funding from: 

  • Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research