The most rapidly growing U.S. states are in the semi-arid southwest, and most rapidly growing countries are concentrated in semi-arid regions of the planet.
Water resources planners in the U.S. and abroad face a daunting list of challenges:
One-quarter of the contiguous U.S. and one-third of the earth's land surface is semi-arid or arid land.
Population pressures and pollution are causing urban and agricultural areas to overdraft regional aquifers, leaving them reliant on non-sustainable groundwater supplies.
Climate change and variability in climate are making a growing percentage of the earth's population vulnerable to both drought and flood.
VISION, MISSION, and LEGACY
Vision of the Center
The vision of
SAHRA is to develop an integrated, multidisciplinary
understanding of the hydrology of semi-arid regions,
and to build partnerships with a broad spectrum of stakeholders
(both public agencies and private organizations) so
that this understanding is effectively applied to the
management of water resources and to the rational implementation
of public policy. In practice, the power to improve
sustainability of water resources properly rests with
elected officials, professional water managers, and
legal experts at local, state, and national levels.
purpose is therefore to inform and support such water
professionals by conducting stakeholder-relevant research,
education, and knowledge transfer activities. Consequently,
SAHRA has a dual mission: 1) to identify critical stakeholder-relevant
knowledge gaps and conduct basin-focused multidisciplinary
research to fill them; and 2) to convey what is known
and what is being learned to improve water management
aims for a lasting legacy in the field of integrated
semi-arid hydrology that will benefit future researchers,
water agencies, and the private sector. The legacy that
SAHRA plans to provide under NSF funding may well expand
as our program develops, but at this time SAHRA's legacy
products and the actions required to bring them about
are envisioned as follows:
Science Legacy: New and improved understandings
of semi-arid hydrology
new or improved understanding of the complexities in,
and impacts of, the interactions between physical, biological,
economic, and human factors in semi-arid hydrology,
based in part on their accurate representation within
an integrated modeling framework.
Stakeholder Legacy: Ongoing stakeholder/scientist
dialog and mechanisms to support stakeholders in their
Initiate, sustain, and engage dialog between
stakeholders and scientists to stimulate and direct
stakeholder-relevant research, by building confidence
and mutual trust.
b) Jointly (with selected stakeholders) plan,
develop, and implement tools such as models, management
guidelines, and policy frameworks, in support of stakeholder
Knowledge Transfer Legacy: Dissemination and transfer
of knowledge to water professionals, elected officials,
knowledge to the community of water professionals,
elected officials, and scientists, to help them make
more scientifically informed decisions on water policy
b) Widely disseminate knowledge
about water and water-related issues so as to enhance
general hydrologic literacy, leading to more scientifically
informed choices by the public.
Education Legacy: Enhanced multidisciplinary hydrologic
literacy within the educational system
a new and diverse generation of professionals, students,
and faculty who are adept at approaching water issues
from a multidisciplinary and basin-scale perspective
and are able to communicate this perspective effectively
Institutional Legacy: An institution that will continue
to deal objectively with the problems of water resources
in semi-arid regions
the factors and components (including perceived value
by state and federal agencies and the private sector)
that will lead to sustained stakeholder-responsive science,
knowledge transfer, and education activities that have
been developed by SAHRA under NSF funding.