Southwest U.S. Irrigation System Faces Decline (Nature World News)

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Nature World NewsArid regions of the U.S. Southwest have, for centuries, been sustained by communal irrigation systems, known as acequias, reports Nature World News. The systems, which supported the regions for over four centuries, are now declining, says Dartmouth’s Michael Cox, an assistant professor of environmental studies.

Cox examined the acequias of the Taos Valley in northern New Mexico and found that dwindling snowmelt runoff as well as socioeconomic factors are causing the decline. “While some of these changes can be attributed to declines in water availability, much of the change results from social drivers, including demographic changes, regional-to-global market forces and public policies,” says Cox. “It thus seems quite unlikely that the acequias in Taos will return to their historical situation, meaning the acequia farmers must adapt to the current conditions.”

Cox’s study appears in the journal Global Environmental Change, the article notes.

Read the full story, published 2/13/14 by Nature World News.