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

ferred to as Decision Theater, is a three-dimensional "immersive environment" where researchers use computer modeling, analytic techniques and simulations to literally see the complex patterns and relationships that guide the decision process, and to represent and predict likely effects of public policy choices.

"At the heart of our effort is the study of how humans make decisions in the face of climatic uncertainty in a rapidly growing region," added Gober. "Central Arizona faces an uncertain climate future due to global climate change, annual variability causing droughts and floods, and the urban heat island effect, which has raised nighttime summer low temperatures almost 10 degrees in the past 50 years."

"Our team of scientists from geography, anthropology, sociology, management, psychology, math, computer science and public affairs will work with our community partners (City of Phoenix, SRP, Arizona Department of Water Resources, Maricopa County Flood Control District and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation) to enhance the region's adaptive capacity to make informed decisions about water management given these climatic uncertainties," she added.

While DCDC's research focus is understanding complexities of water management and the decision making processes that are involved in planning in Phoenix, Redman said what is learned will be important for other arid regions of the world.

"What we discover will be transportable," he said. "Balancing usable fresh water with population growth and sustainability is a global challenge."


Contact: Skip Derra
Arizona State University

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