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Assessing Climate Variability and Adaptation Strategies for the Rio Grande Basin

A South Central CASC FY18 Funding Project
Principal Investigator
Samuel Sandoval Solis


Start Date
End Date
Release Date


The Rio Grande is naturally a water-scarce basin in which droughts have been classified as severe (with almost no rain during some years) and extended (lasting more than 10, or even 15 years). Severe and persistent droughts in the Rio Grande basin reduce water availability, which triggers economic, environmental, and social impacts, and affects compliance with interstate compacts and international treaty commitments. In contrast, the Rio Grande basin is also affected by flood events that cause major losses to lives, properties, and economies. Understanding each of these periods of water scarcity and water abundance can help water managers to design adaptation strategies that cope with these two extremes while still supporting human [...]

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Principal Investigator :
Samuel Sandoval Solis
Funding Agency :
South Central CASC
Cooperator/Partner :
Victoria Sissac, Mark Briggs
CMS Group :
Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASC) Program

Attached Files

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“Rio Grande River, Public Domain”
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Project Extension

typeTechnical Summary
valueThe Rio Grande (RG) is a basin full of extreme climate conditions. The overall goal of this study is to estimate the climate variability of the southern branch of the Rio Grande basin (from Presidio Texas to the outlet of the river in the Gulf of Mexico) and characterize the periods of drought and water abundance for 110 years [1900 – 2010]. This study focuses on the natural streamflow variability as a proxy for climate variability, and in particular for extreme drought and flood events. The proposed research will assess the climate variability in the RG by estimating the daily natural flows, water availability and extreme flow events, characterize droughts and floods and design climate adaptation strategies for droughts and floods. This study is crucial for stakeholders and the society because the economic and environmental sustainability of the communities living in the basin will depend on the actions to cope with the climate variability produced by droughts and floods. This research will help to understand extreme climatic events and support the formulation of adaptation strategies relevant for agriculture, urban and rural communities, water management agencies, flood protection, and environmental restoration activities. Expected products include a report that describes the statistical analysis, trend analysis and results; maps that provides a spatial and temporal characterization of water availability and use; and list and explanation of possible adaptation strategies to cope with extreme climatic events. The project also considers a strong communication campaign that includes a number of presentations with stakeholders as well as 3-minute videos explaining results and adaptation strategies for public outreach. In addition, this study will provide three opportunities for young researcher scientists, two years of support for a Master’s student, and one year of support for two postdoctoral fellows. The project also has strong involvement and exchange of ideas with two project partners the Big Bend National Park (BBNP) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Rio Grande River, Public Domain
Rio Grande River, Public Domain


Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS


  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • South Central CASC



Additional Information


Type Scheme Key
RegistrationUUID NCCWSC 9f49746b-280a-4981-ac90-13585f2ea1a3
StampID NCCWSC SC18-SS1312

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