The Hydro-Economics of Agricultural Regions project aligns science, policy, and technology to gain insight into the linkage between the hydroclimatic and agricultural systems at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions. Its objective is to develop and apply state-of-the-art decision support tools capable of informing how a range of climate, policy, and market scenarios will affect water availability, agricultural sustainability, and rural livelihoods.
Understanding how farmers adapt to changing natural conditions is critical for developing efficient policies to support producer welfare, enhance food security, and protect the environment. The objective of this project is to develop a transformative decision support tool that will allow policymakers and natural resource managers to understand the incentives that drive farmers’ adaptation to changing natural conditions, as well as the environmental consequences of adaptive behavior. For this, project researchers are partnering with the Water Resources Division of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) to produce advanced water management tools that could be used for continuous and operational large scale (state-wide) water management.
The goals of this project contribute to the USDA-NIFA strategic objective to develop solutions for water management that link food, water, climate, and environmental factors using holistic approaches that link social, economic, behavioral, and biophysical sciences and engineering. To do so, project researchers propose a state-of-the-art integrated hydro-economic model that leverages recent advances in remote sensing science and in data assimilation methods to enable automatic model updates and refinements as new information on farming activity becomes available.