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Title: Integrated Policy Solutions for Water Scarcity in Agricultural Communities of the American Southwest
The conventional approach of policy interventions in water management that focus on the portions of the system that directly relate to water often lead to unintended consequences that potentially exacerbate water scarcity issues and present challenges to the future viability of many rural agricultural communities. This paper deploys a system dynamics model to illustrate how expanding the policy space of hydrology models to include socioeconomic feedbacks could address these challenges. In this regard, policies that can potentially mitigate general water scarcity in a region of the American Southwest in southern New Mexico are examined. We selected and tested policies with the potential to diminish water scarcity without compromising the system’s economic performance. These policies included supporting choices that reduce or limit the expansion of water-intensive crops, promoting workforce participation, encouraging investment in capital, and regulating land use change processes. The simulation results, after the proposed boundary expansion, unveiled intervention options not commonly exercised by water decision-makers, bolstering the argument that integrated approaches to water research that include socioeconomic feedbacks are crucial for the study of agricultural community resilience.
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National Science Foundation
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