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Adapting Water Rights In The Changing Western Climate

Michelle Billman

When farmers first purchase water rights, they typically reserve them for a certain time of the year based on historical predictions of when the most water will flow, but the runoff is frequently coming earlier because of climate change. 

Kim Rollins is an environmental economist at the University of Nevada, Reno. She and her team received a nearly $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to explore how the ag industry and water regulators can adapt. KUNR’s Bree Zender spoke with her about the details.

“It affects people where it hurts: their abilities to do what they’re normally doing; the infrastructure that allows them to be doing what they’re normally doing," she explained. "If you’re an agricultural producer, and you’re counting on having accessible, usable water, the timing of that is very important."

Rollins said the research aims to find the communities who are most at risk to the water impacts of climate change. Listen to the full interview for more.

Bree Zender is a former host and reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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