This research presents the Colorado River basin as a social-ecological
system. Utilizing event data on cooperative and conflictive interactions over fresh water, the system is decomposed to look for evidence of outcomes of resilience enhancement. The Animas-La Plata Project in the upper San Juan basin is presented as a case study, and qualitative methods are used to analyze interactions that led to its construction in order to assess social-ecological outcomes.
In the upper San Juan basin, cooperative interactions over fresh water
outnumbered conflictive ones. Interactions over water rights and
infrastructure were most common, and the most cooperative interactions
focused on these issue types. Many of these interactions focused on the
Animas-La Plata Project compromise, which ultimately enhances social-ecological resilience in the Colorado River basin.