The Rio Grande/Bravo basin is a system that is regularly stressed by challenging meteorological conditions - droughts and flooding being the greatest threats to lives and property. When parts of the river are stressed, those stressors are regularly transferred from one reach to another, having a cascading effect that is only mitigated by a number of man made reservoirs and dams meant to reduce downstream impacts of weather and climate extremes. However, because the system is so stressed - but, also, stressed in different ways at different times and affecting different people and systems (e.g., agricultural, municipal, ecological) - the meaning of these stressors, the proposed solutions to these problems, and the cause of (or blame for) these stressors are rarely shared across different populations. Instead, profound fragmentation across the RGB basin contributes to situations where co-production of knowledge related to problems at the intersection of humans, geography, and weather/climate stressors often produce fragmented understandings of “how to fix” problems within the system.
Results will draw on over 100 in-depth interviews and 15 months of in situ fieldwork conducted by the authors as they sought to learn about shared aspects of and differences between perceptions of drought/flood risks, vulnerabilities, and costs among water managers (municipalities, irrigation districts, federal land managers, international water control managers, tribal representatives, large-scale ranchers and farmers, and other stakeholders and NGOs) throughout the Rio Grande basin.