Graduate Project

Eugene Residents Risk Perceptions of Water Scarcity

Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF


Attribute NameValues
  • Potential water scarcity and drought conditions are predicted in and around Eugene, Oregon due to decreased snowpack and subsequent decreased snowmelt in the Western Cascade Mountains. This phenomenon was triggered by a long-term trend of warmer winters scientifically linked to global climate change patterns (Dalton et al. 2013). Numerous stakeholders, ecological processes, and habitats are dependent on the water flow of Willamette Valley Rivers, in Oregon. Snowmelt is crucial for freshwater flows to feed these rivers during the dry summer months. Hierarchies of interrelatedness or coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) are concepts that can be used to understand human-nature relationships in this region. These intricate linkages may compound impacts leading to more severe drought, increased fire risks, water conflicts, and economic decline. Water managers and residents will need to prepare for risks and uncertainty related to future water availability in the region. This case study addresses the questions: “What are Eugene residents’ perceptions of risk related to severe water scarcity linked to climate change?” and “How does this perception of risk impact public participation and support of local sustainable water management strategies?” Qualitative approaches are employed to understand these and other related questions through content analysis of a “Risk Perceptions Survey” and in-depth literature review. This research project could be used to assist water management organizations and residents in creating sustainable solutions to prevent potential social and ecological ramifications. Natural resource managers in this region should consider increasing public outreach and education about water scarcity and preparedness while also improving collaboration and communication with residents. In addition, adaptive and mitigation management styles should be implemented before possible water scarcity. Water regulation agencies should consider the impact of outdated water laws on water use in order to encourage and improve water conservation and wise use.
Resource Type
Date Available
Date Issued
Degree Level
Degree Name
Degree Field
Degree Grantor
Commencement Year
Rights Statement



This work has no parents.