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Barney Austin

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Several times during the severe drought of 2010-2015, communities within the jurisdictional territories of the Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma were precariously close to running out of water. According to previous studies, temperatures are expected to continue to rise throughout the southern states, and droughts are predicted to be longer and more severe. Even small changes to a river’s water flow regime may have unanticipated consequences on the water resources, especially for communities that rely on direct river diversions to supply their needs. A suitable water availability model is a key tool needed to help communities investigate where vulnerabilities in water resources may occur and the...
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During the severe drought of 2010-2015, several communities in southeast Oklahoma almost ran out of water. Some of these communities rely on streams and rivers as their sole source of water and when these sources almost ran dry, it left them searching for alternatives and wondering how to continue growing, economically, with this water uncertainty. The possibility of climate change has these communities further concerned, primarily because they do not know what to expect. Previously, the USGS, both Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations collaborated on a project to apply a range of possible climate change scenarios to the Red River watershed to determine future water availability. This study will focus specifically on southeast...
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The Red River Basin is a vital source of water in the South Central U.S., supporting ecosystems, drinking water, agriculture, tourism and recreation, and cultural ceremonies. Stretching from the High Plains of New Mexico eastward to the Mississippi River, the Red River Basin encompasses parts of five states – New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Further, 74% of the jurisdictional boundaries of the Chickasaw and Choctaw Tribes are located within the basin. Water resources in the basin have been stressed in recent years due to a multi-year drought and increasing demands for consumptive use by metropolitan areas in Oklahoma and Texas. Unfortunately, currently available projections of future precipitation...
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