Stressors and strategies for managing Urban water scarcity: Perspectives from the field

Vivek Shandas, Rosa Lehman, Kelli Larson, Jeremy Bunn, Heejun Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Largely because water resource planning in the U.S. has been separated from land-use planning, opportunities for explicitly linking planning policies to water availability remain unexamined. The pressing need for better coordination between land-use planning and water management is amplified by changes in the global climate, which will place even greater importance on managing water supplies and demands than in the past. By surveying land and water managers in two urbanizing regions of the western United States-Portland, Oregon and Phoenix Arizona-we assessed the extent to which their perspectives regarding municipal water resource management align or differ. We specifically focus on characterizing how they perceive water scarcity problems (i.e., stressors) and solutions (i.e., strategies). Overall, the results show a general agreement across both regions and professions that long-term drought, population growth, and outdoor water use are the most important stressors to urban water systems. The results of the survey indicated more agreement across cities than across professions with regard to effective strategies, reinforcing the idea that land-use planners and water managers remain divided in their conception of the solutions to urban water management. To conclude, we recommend potential pathways for coordinating the fields of land and water management for urban sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6775-6787
Number of pages13
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2015


  • Climate change
  • Land-use planners
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • Strategies
  • Stressors
  • Water managers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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