Rural ranchers face less access to water during drought than urban counterparts

For farmers and ranchers in Mexico's southern Baja California peninsula during a six-year drought, the farther away they lived from urban areas, the more likely they were to have to make changes to cope with the dwindling supply of water, according to a Portland State University study.

Melissa Haeffner, an assistant professor of environmental science and management at PSU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said the findings highlight a rural-urban divide and show that ranchers' access to water was neither equal nor valued during the drought from 2006 to 2012.

"Where people live and how close they are to the city and how well the city can deliver those services to households was unequal across the population and it had devastating effects for households who were not able to access those resources," said Haeffner, the study's lead researcher.