New Arizona State center brings science to policy on issues of water resources and urban growth

cycles that cause droughts, floods and other severe weather events.

"Society must learn to make better decisions in the face of uncertainty," explained Gober. "Our theme is the creation of partnerships between scientists and decision makers to study and understand the complex relationships between rapidly growing population, finite water resources and climatic variability."

"With DCDC we want to strengthen the linkages between science and decision makers," Gober added. "We want to explore how to make more informed and better decisions. With the Valley, we have the perfect laboratory in which do to that."

Redman added that inhabitants of the Phoenix area have dealt with water issues dating back to the ancient native Hohokam, who first settled in the Valley around 500 A.D. and built an enormous irrigation system to water their crops. Today, Phoenix is a fast growing urban complex that provides a uniquely tailored area in which to study the dynamics of population growth and limited water resources.

"Accessing, distributing and managing water resources has always been a challenge in Phoenix," Redman said. "That makes us an ideal experimental environment to study how to manage and use our limited resources."

Exploring "what ifs"

One key capability of DCDC will be to run "what if" scenarios. Researchers and decision makers will use real data and scientific grounding to model hypothetical decisions about the growth of the region and play out scenarios to predict the effects those decisions might have in the future on such variables as water usage, economic expansion, demands on the area's natural resources and on achieving a balance of growth and resources, or sustainability.

A vital tool for decision makers and DCDC researchers is the Decision Center for the New Arizona, housed in the ASU Brickyard in Tempe. This center, informally re

Contact: Skip Derra
Arizona State University

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