JP2.7 The Development of the Arizona Drought Impacts Database

Wednesday, 22 June 2005
Casey C. Thornbrugh, CLIMAS, Tucson, AZ; and G. Garfin and A. C. Comrie

The state of Arizona is in its seventh year of a severe drought. Arizona's major metropolitan areas and the majority of the state's irrigated agriculture are well-buffered from the effects of multiyear droughts by water allocations through the Central Arizona Project and protections of the 1980 Arizona Groundwater Management Act. However, many of Arizona's rural communities continue to experience the impacts from drought and local water shortages. To address this problem, the Climate Assessment of the Southwest (CLIMAS) drought and society work group is developing a drought impacts database for the state of Arizona. The drought impacts database will be provided to the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) headquarters as a resource for state drought planning. Typically, drought status has been assessed with the use of hydroclimatic data; however drought status can also be measured with impact data. With available drought impact information it is possible to calibrate and corroborate the assessment given by hydroclimatic drought indices. For the drought impacts database, CLIMAS is collecting drought impacts data from various sectors such as: tourism/recreation, watershed/ecosystem management, agricultural, Native American tribes, and municipal/industrial water-use. With the development of this extensive database it is essential to address some critical questions. How will qualitative data be dealt with in the database? Are the drought impacts data directly or indirectly related to drought? How reliable are the drought impacts data and what are some of the caveats to their use? Since water rights and distribution are contentious issues in the U.S. Southwest, the collection of drought impacts data also brings up questions regarding the implications for the sectors and communities represented in the database. Which agencies will have access to the drought impacts data collected? How will the sectors, and each community involved, benefit from sharing their data? The final goal of this project is the development of a drought impacts database where the user is informed as to the relationship of each type of impact data with drought, where impact data were collected, and how reliable are the data for assessing drought impacts. This presentation will give an update on the database development and challenges.
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