Colorado river basin


on Solving Water Availability Challenges through an Interdisciplinary Framework | 12-16 September 2022
Golden, Colorado

Submissions are Open

The abstract submission deadline is 20 April at 23:59 EDT/03:59 +0 GMT. Late abstract submissions will not be accepted after this date.

About the Meeting

Ensuring adequate water for people and the environment is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. The availability of water depends on water quantity, quality, and timing. Water availability influences virtually all human activities and ecosystem functions. Consequently, increasing human demand and modification of the water cycle are at the root of many global challenges, including the decline of aquatic ecosystems, widespread water insecurity, and damaging water pollution. Despite the inherent complexity of water availability, the hydrologic cycle has historically been studied from narrow disciplinary perspectives, often isolated from societal context. Addressing the challenge of water availability requires understanding the issues holistically, bringing together the pieces of the puzzle held by different disciplinary perspectives. Our Chapman conference will uncover and make explicit divergent views, assumptions, data types, and research methods that make integration difficult.

Water damn drought

Who Should Attend

We welcome a diversity of conference participants, both nationally and internationally, with disciplinary or interdisciplinary academic backgrounds or practice-based experience in water management and/or integrated assessment. Early career scientists and groups traditionally under-represented in science are particularly encouraged to attend.

Cracked river banks

Meeting Goals

The Solving Water Availability Challenges through an Interdisciplinary Framework Chapman Conference will uncover and make explicit divergent views, assumptions, data types, and research methods that can make integration difficult. This dialogue will lay the foundation upon which a community of practice to facilitate integrated assessments of water availability and move science forward can be built.

The conference has three specific objectives:
(1) Integrate definitions of water availability at the conceptual level
(2) Identify metrics and methods to measure water availability in an integrated way
(3) Propose best practices to translate the integrated understanding of water availability into decision making.

Across the globe, water resources agencies responsible for assessing and modelling water availability are recognizing the need for new approaches (e.g. Australia’s National Water Account program; Integrated Water Availability Assessments Program at the U.S. Geological Survey). However, to date these programs are rarely able to integrate the full range of disciplines that can provide expertise regarding water availability. In particular, the integration of social drivers of availability that tend to be qualitative such as culture, institutions, and norms is often lacking in these efforts. This conference provides the opportunity to bring disciplinary experts, experts in the field of hydro-social integration, and water management practitioners together to develop a common language and framework for moving the science and practice of water availability forward.

Chapman water availability river basin
Water drought

How to Participate

The conference is designed to be highly interactive. All attendees are asked to choose from one of the following options for participating:

1. Submit an abstract for a session: The conference is organized into 6 topics that build upon one another. You may submit an abstract to be considered to speak in one of these sessions. Details of the sessions and the type of presentations we are looking for can be found on the Scientific Program page with more details about each session.

Submit an abstract describing a multimedia “story” about water availability around the world and its impacts on human communities. See the Scientific Program tab for more details.

2. Apply to be a conference assistant. This option (open only to graduate students or postdocs) will allow you to attend the conference and help the Program Committee to take notes and facilitate breakout groups during the Integration Workshop session. We hope it will be an exciting chance to meet a wide range of scholars and practitioners working in the field and gain exposure to cutting edge science and practice.

Submit an application

3. Attend the conference without presenting a poster or formal talk. If you are choosing this option, we will ask you to explain in your application how your professional or scientific background and/or current role will contribute to the conference objectives. We will also ask you to prepare a 2-3 minute “lightning talk” introducing yourself and your expertise to other attendees.

Submit an application

Format Overview

The conference is structured around six core topics, which will be addressed through six half-day sessions consisting of short presentations and facilitated panel discussions. These will be followed by a full day devoted to an integrative “workshop” focused on how water availability information translates into practice. The conference will close with two optional field trips in the Upper Colorado River Basin, one focused on transmountain diversions and the other on the intersection of wildfire and water availability.

  • This session will target understanding how different disciplines and professional communities conceptualize and communicate about water availability from both supply and demand perspectives.
  • We are not seeking abstracts for this session at this time.

  • This session aims to have an open and wide-ranging dialogue to examine cultural perspectives that influence science, policy, and management.
  • We are seeking abstracts that describe case studies at the intersection of culture and water management as well as abstracts that address how institutional biases obscure different cultural perspectives or inhibit innovation in water management and decision making. Other topics that fit the scope of this session are welcomed with rationale for how they advance the session aims.

  • This session will highlight integrated assessment efforts and challenges using case studies from different river basins around the world.
  • We are seeking abstracts for presentations that highlight basin-scale integrated assessment efforts from around the world that illustrate either particularly strong examples and/or that provide transferable lessons or cautionary tales. We are particularly interested in proposals from teams that include both scientists and practitioners.

  • This session focuses on how scale influences conceptualization of and solutions to water availability problems, how multiple scales interact, how scale influences how one characterizes the movement of water, and how physical and human scales intersect.
  • Regarding the intersection of water availability and scale, we seek abstracts that cover topics on the role of institutions; scenario development; climate change; economic sectors; and transboundary conflict. Other topics that fit the scope of this session are welcomed with rationale for how they advance the session aims.

  • This session will discuss the ways in which the decision-making processes and objectives can or should inform model design and metric selection, seeking to understand the relationship between data, modeling, metrics, and decision-making processes in general.
  • We are not seeking abstracts for this session at this time.

  • This session strives to develop a shared ‘vocabulary’ by focusing on what the water availability community of practice means by integration within and across disciplines. We will discuss how integration adds value to water availability, limitations of integration, and how it may be better practiced.
  • We are seeking abstracts for presentations on the topics of integrative approaches to data, computational and software issues; types of models; benefits of and limitations to integration; stakeholder-relevant considerations; or other related topics.

  • This session is designed as a culmination of previous sessions; we are not seeking abstracts specifically for the Workshop at this time. However, please feel free to describe your particular interest in the Workshop in your application as an attendee and/or conference assistance.

Guideline for Multimedia Story Submission

Submit an abstract describing a multimedia “story” about water availability around the world and its impacts on human communities. The media may have been created for a past project or specifically created for this conference. The story does not need to be ready during submission and may be uploaded at a later date. The selected multimedia “stories” will be shared at select times during the conference with the goal of linking conference themes to real world experiences of people in particular places. Stories should be no more than ten minutes long. Email [email protected] with questions.

Example multimedia story: “Agua Es Vida” by the Western Landowners Alliance

Flat land drought

Water Availability Chapman Travel Grants

The Chapman Conveners are actively pursuing additional funding to support travel costs. Should funding become available, priority will be given to students, early career scientists, and those from low-middle income countries. Submit an application by 20 April 2022.


Pebble rocks piled up on the shore

Chapman Conveners

Lucas S. Bair
U.S. Geological Survey, Grand Canyon Monitoring Research Center

Amanda E. Cravens
U.S. Geological Survey, Social and Economic Analysis Branch

Jessica M. Driscoll
U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Mission Area

Nicole Herman-Mercer
U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Mission Area