Water Risk Hotspots for Agriculture: The Case of the Southwest United States

Published: September 2016

Authors: Heather Cooley, Michael Cohen, Rapichan Phurisamban, and Guillaume Gruère

Pages: 29



Despite being the United States’ most arid region, the U.S. Southwest – Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah – is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. Yet the region’s crops depend heavily on supplemental irrigation, and climate change and increased water demand are putting pressure on the region’s limited water supplies, raising concerns about the viability of agriculture in the U.S. Southwest.

This report, prepared in coordination with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is a case study of the potential impacts of future water risks on agriculture in the U.S. Southwest by mid-century.