Tamee Albrecht is a 2018 recipient of the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Climate & Society Graduate Fellows Program.
Title: Use-inspired science for groundwater governance: Science production, transfer and use in the U.S.-Mexico border region
Abstract: Groundwater governance is a complex challenge for the 21st century. In arid regions along the U.S.-Mexico border, surface water is limited and water users, as well as riparian ecosystems, are dependent on groundwater supplies. Groundwater stores are vulnerable to overuse and recharge to shallow aquifers is influenced by fluctuations in precipitation and extended periods of drought. While sustainable groundwater utilization requires both effective governance and sound science, integration of groundwater science in policy is challenging. This is due to the difficulty of monitoring this “hidden” resource, the uncertainty in and highly technical nature of groundwater models, and the site-specific characteristics of local aquifers. While monitoring and observation are key components of effective groundwater management, it is not only adequate information that is needed – how science is transferred, interpreted and used are equally important to achieving sustainable resource outcomes. This project aims to understand how scientific information is used in decision-making regarding groundwater aquifers in the U.S.-Mexico border region. The project asks how groundwater information produced, transferred, and used by key stakeholders, and explores how modes of problem framing influence the collection and use of groundwater information.