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National Cave and Karst Research Institute

Publication Date

November 2013


George Veni National Cave and Karst Research Institute 400-1 Cascades Avenue Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220, USA AbstractClimate change models for the arid southwestern USA predict increasing temperatures and declines in precipitation. These changes will have multiple adverse impacts on water and ecological resources and pose diverse challenges on their management. The San Solomon Spring system of west Texas discharges from the western edge of the karstic Edward-Trinity Plateau Aquifer. It consists of six springs in Jeff Davis and Reeves counties, is one of the largest spring groups in the state, and provides water for agricultural use and habitat to two federally listed endangered species and three species proposed for listing. It serves in this paper as a case study for the impact and management of climate change on springs in the American southwest. Water and ecosystem management can be driven by market and/or ecological forces. Market considerations can guide water management if there are no ecological or other considerations that depend on aquifer levels or flowing surface water, and if total water use is sustainable for the climatic conditions. Where endangered species are involved, ecological factors dominate management, but require greater levels of information and understanding of the relationship between aquifer conditions and ecological health. Computer software, such as ADAPT, are starting to become available to assist with local climate change evaluations and decision-making processes. Open Access - Permission by Publisher See Extended description for more information.