Drought Challenges - Chapter 21: Drought adaptation when irrigation is not an option: the case of Lincoln Co., Colorado, USA

Elsevier, Current Directions in Water Scarcity Research, Volume 2, 2019, Pages 311-323
Robert McLeman

This chapter describes drought impacts and adaptation in a dryland agricultural county in Colorado, USA, where there is insufficient ground and surface water to support crop irrigation. Water scarcity is an ongoing challenge for farmers, ranchers, and small urban centers in the county, with periodic droughts testing the limits of local adaptive capacity. Important factors in adaptation include crop insurance, government subsidies, and flexible agricultural practices. In Colorado, water is a shared common resource administered by the state, creating an added layer of complexity in water management and use. The experiences documented here are ones that many dryland agricultural regions in other parts of the world can expect to encounter in coming decades as changing climate, demographic characteristics, and socioeconomic factors take hold.