Assessing climate resiliency in snow dependent communities investigates the extent to which natural and human systems can absorb climate-induced water supply variability. Particularly in snow-fed river systems, where climate change affects snowpack accumulation and snowmelt timing, a participatory research design can provide information to support adaptation, enhancing community climate resiliency. Utilizing the Truckee-Carson River System in the western United States as a case study, the authors:
- define community climate resiliency and establish a rationale for assessing resiliency at the community and river system scale;
- outline the role of participatory research, and collaborative modeling as an example, to assess resiliency;
- report selected case study assessment results; and
- discuss challenges encountered with participatory research and opportunities for further exploration.
According to 66 local water managers who participated in this assessment, climate change is an important motivator for adaptation. Climate adaptation strategies include increased efforts to: collect science-based information to understand better climate impacts on the river system; collaborate and communicate with other managers; and explore modifications to existing water institutions to support adaptive water management.
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