By Jen Kinney.
As uncertainty about water access in the West increases, the Decision Center for a Desert City at Arizona State University is connecting policymakers with research to make better resource management decisions for the future.
The DCDC has been conducting climate and water research in the Phoenix metropolitan area since 2004. Now, thanks to a $4.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation — the third made to DCDC by the NSF since its founding — the DCDC will expand its work beyond Arizona to other cities dependent on the Colorado River Basin in Colorado, Nevada and California.
The funding comes from the NSF’s Decision Making Under Uncertainty program. TheDCDC and other groups receiving this funding aim to increase information available to decision-makers by developing analytic tools, facilitating interaction with researchers and bringing decision-makers together.
“We’re a boundary organization,” says Ray Quay, director of stakeholder relations at DCDC. “We try to bring science into public policy.” In Phoenix, the DCDC does this in part through collaborative research. Using satellite imagery, DCDC helped the city better understand how changes in water demand over time are related to changes in land use. The DCDC will now work to identify similar opportunities in Las Vegas and Denver, the first cities that will benefit from the expansion.