On April 7 and 8, 2020, CCASS and Martin & McCoy facilitated the final of three workshops of an innovative scenario planning process that included representatives of all seven Colorado River basin states, Mexico, Tribes, water managers, agriculture and others. These scenario planning workshops considered for the first time the potential for extreme climate events to occur synchronously with major issues in governance, the economy and other "extremes." Participants built basin-wide storylines around these intersections, discussed cascading climate, ecosystem, social and other impacts, and discussed solutions that could mitigate the effects of these "black swan" events.
The team of organizers spanned many UArizona departments including Environmental Science, Geography and Development, and SNRE as well as an alum of Arid Lands Resource Sciences. During the first two workshops, participants from all corners of the Colorado River Basin wrestled with identifying “nightmare scenarios” and building them into storylines. When organizers were faced with cancelling the third in-person workshop due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they adapted to an online format, complete with breakout sessions and online polls to facilitate participation.
Participants were grateful for the opportunity to discuss these issues, even in the midst of a pandemic. Many concurred this moment gave more focus to the reality of black swan events like those the scenario planning process had contemplated. Click the button below to learn more about the scenario planning workshop series and the entire Colorado River Conversations Project.