You are here

Real-time irrigation diversion data delivery can benefit adaptive capacity in communal irrigation systems

TitleReal-time irrigation diversion data delivery can benefit adaptive capacity in communal irrigation systems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsConrad, LM, Taylor, MA, Fernald, AG, Guldan, SJ, Ochoa, CG
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association

There is a need to support applied, community-relevant hydrologic research within changing climate, population, and socioeconomic conditions to better inform water policy and management. We hypothesized that providing a rural agricultural community in a semiarid valley with the necessary monitoring tool to meet local water management needs would increase adaptive capacity within the context of long-term drought. Through a community science approach, researchers installed a telemetry monitoring system at participating acequia irrigation diversions that remotely sent water data to a web interface every 15 min. Two surveys distributed before and after web interface access targeted seven adaptive capacity indicators. After the first season of improved data accessibility, the following adaptive capacity indicators significantly increased: information diversity, cognitive social capital, leadership, and proactivity. Rather than focusing on the water savings aspect of real-time monitoring, this paper summarizes a novel water resources study that assessed the social impact of real-time irrigation water delivery monitoring on adaptive capacity. This study suggests that bridging the gap between community need and hydrologic research through community science, sociologic analysis, and stakeholder engagement provides significant benefits for communities facing water management challenges, further supporting problem-driven water resources research.