Why Nevada Water?

  • Nevada is the country’s driest and most urban state, with a rapidly growing population.
  • Most Nevadans get their water from the Colorado River yet most of Nevada lies outside the Colorado River Basin and is dependent on groundwater.
  • Like much of the U.S., these urban-rural contrasts lead to diverging views on land and water use so, in many ways, Nevada’s water issues are a harbinger for other regions.
  • Water scarcity is a way of life for Nevadans.
  • Nevada has many committed, thoughtful people working on managing water for the long term.

Our network goals

  • Provide an inclusive platform for collaboration.
  • Fill knowledge gaps.
  • Co-develop fit-for-purpose models and accessible tools.
  • Engage with communities.
  • Build capacity for sustainable water futures.
  • Educate and train K-Ph.D., managers, decision-makers, and policy-makers.
  • Co-develop multi-sector support to sustain the Nevada Water network for the long term.

Common themes and concerns

  • Collaboration is the driving force for success.
  • Long-term drought is the overarching issue leading to water over-appropriation and over-use.
  • Surface water-groundwater interactions are not well understood and difficult to address with current water policies.
  • Changing regulations and lack of agency capacity make it difficult to address complex water issues.

Transformative Science With Society (TSS) approach

Our convergence research approach uses a theoretical framework called Transformative Science-with-Society (TSS). TSS is a proven, grassroots approach that is integrative and inclusive across multiple ‘ways of knowing’, including traditional ecological knowledge, local knowledge, and multi-disciplinary Western science. TSS is stakeholder-driven and participants collaborate at every step. Critical reflection points provide opportunities to re-evaluate key steps before getting to Action. The TSS process is the convergence approach that builds and sustains the trust foundation on which the network is developed and the participatory process that collaboratively envisions sustainable water futures.

The action steps within the TSS framework will use the Theory of Change, in which network participants explore how sets of strategic actions would lead to short-term results, long-term outcomes, and ultimate impacts – in this case, focused on alleviating Nevada’s urban-rural water challenges. One of the key impacts is the Triple Loop social learning that occurs through the TSS process.

In single-loop social learning, individuals and groups change their ideas about the efficacy of actions. With double-loop social learning, participants question the underlying assumptions of the system. In triple-loop social learning, individuals and groups are motivated to change the norms and institutions that govern the system. Triple-loop social learning facilitates transitions to sustainability by supporting the adaptive capacity of communities. Using documented, formal evaluation strategies, it will be possible to quantify the nature and amount of social learning that is occurring within the network. In this way, we can gauge which participatory strategies are leading to desired water sustainability outcomes and impacts.