Recognizing the Human Faces in the Context of Reduced Snowpack

TitleRecognizing the Human Faces in the Context of Reduced Snowpack
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2016
AuthorsAcker, Thomas L., and Smith Dean Howard
Conference Name84th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the Western Snow Conference
Date Published2016
Conference LocationSeattle, Washington

Our research focuses on agriculture in Arizona, California Nevada, Oregon and Washington using inperson interviews with community members to determine the possible indirect and induced economic losses from a reduction in irrigation-based income and employment. Whereas agricultural-based output accounts for less than 2% of economic output value throughout the western states, many urban and rural communities heavily rely on this  output for their very existence. Thus, reductions in snow-based and aquifer-based irrigation will have severe impacts on said communities. Understanding the snow/water/energy/food nexus throughout the west is vital. The western states rely on snow pack to produce much of the electricity utilized in pumping water - both surface and ground - for agricultural purposes. Using modern economic tools, the impacts of the agriculture economic base can then be
evaluated in terms of generating secondary economic activity as the wages and profits from the direct jobs are spent within the local economy. Initially, the interviews focused on people directly involved with the management of water at various levels. More recently the focus has been on the indirect and induced impacts of the necessary changes in water management practices. While the extended drought is having positive impacts on some business  sectors, others are having difficult times. (KEYWORDS: agriculture, economic modeling, water management, drought, water use transfers)