Stakeholder Engagement and Participatory Modeling for Water and Agriculture in the Verde Valley, Arizona

Authors: Barbara Quimby*, Arizona State University, Marie Bear, Arizona State University, USDA, Clinton Williams, USDA, Amber Wutich, Arizona State University
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Agricultural Geography, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: stakeholder engagement, water management, participatory modeling, community collaboration, agriculture, Arizona
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 47
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Participatory Modeling is a stakeholder engagement process to create scientifically grounded models of biophysical processes (i.e., hydrological) using stakeholder knowledge. Similar to approaches for integrating indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge found in community-based management programs, participatory modeling seeks to place local residents and resource users on a more even footing with scientific experts to aid in developing research questions and approaches that are inclusive of a community’s experiences and observations. This paper presents research from the Water for Agriculture project, a USDA-funded effort to study and support stakeholder engagement in addressing issues of water quality and quantity in rural agricultural communities. A stakeholder group assembled in the Verde Valley of Arizona was asked to provide input into the development of a GIS-based water estimator tool to help agricultural producers research water efficiencies. The group was involved in every step of the tool’s development, including discussions about the data inputs it would use, its potential uses by producers and conservationists, and the features and complexity of the online application. This project demonstrates the value of engaging with users early in the research process to develop trust, share knowledge, and create more inclusive scientifically grounded research.

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