ARID is the University of New Mexico’s Category III center for Accelerating Resilience Innovations in Drylands.



ARID maximizes the resilience of drylands to climate change: we foster transdisciplinary research, co-create innovations with community and industry partners, and equitably train the next generation to improve economic, human, and ecosystem health in New Mexico and beyond.


To pioneer resilience innovations that enable New Mexico residents, businesses and organisms to thrive despite the impacts of climate change on water, energy, ecosystems, and community health.


  1. Build capacity for novel transdisciplinary research to increase climate resilience. This goal leverages UNM’s outstanding expertise in water, energy, policy, natural sciences, economics, education, health science, computer science, mathematics, entrepreneurship, and community engagement.  Transdisciplinary and translational research will accelerate climate resilience in drylands in four integral areas: 
    • Innovate strategies for sustainable water with solutions to increase water quantity, water quality, and water use-efficiency.
    • Sustain healthy ecosystems that protect biodiversity and maintain services that support the economic, cultural, and ecological functions of drylands.
    • Improve community health through the mitigation of water & energy insecurity and inequities in exposure to environmental harms.
    • Grow a diverse, inclusive, and vibrant economy in clean energy.
  2. Inclusively and equitably train and educate a diverse next generation.  We will develop two-way training that embraces transdisciplinary research to solve STEM workforce needs and reduce unemployment and that promotes Indigenous ecological knowledge in decision-making to benefit a sustainable world seven generations into the future.

Resilience Research

Sustainable Water

Water scarcity is the primary constraint on health and prosperity in drylands.  In 2019,  the World Resources Institute concluded that New Mexico’s baseline water stress in NM is not only the most severe in the US but also on par with several countries in the Middle East. We aim to find new solutions that can increase the resilience of the clean water supply to climate change, lower the cost of clean water, and bring clean water to every household in our state. 

Clean Energy

Nationally, our region stands out for the number of communities that lack reliable electricity and fuel. We aim to facilitate the transition to a modern, distributed electric grid that brings decarbonized power to every door in our state and creates new jobs for the innovation and deployment of novel clean energy technologies.

Healthy Ecosystems

Our region is the canary in the coalmine for the national, global, social, and environmental impacts of climate change. During the past 100 years, the climate during the main growing season in the SW US has become both drier, due to climate warming, and increasingly less predictable with greater variability from year to year. Current projections are that by 2100, Albuquerque will have the climate of El Paso, Texas, and the vegetation to match, and Taos will have the current climate and vegetation of Española. We aim to improve forecasts, explore natural climate solutions, and understand how long-term climate change and extreme weather events can disrupt plant productivity and carbon storage in New Mexico and drylands worldwide.  We also aim to pioneer innovative natural climate solutions to improve productivity and sequester carbon in natural and managed ecosystems as climate change intensifies.

Community Health

Human health is interconnected with the health of our environments. New directions for health and environmental policy and management are crucial to the success of New Mexico’s economy and the vitality of our diverse communities. UNM’s vibrant health sciences programs will educate and prepare our health professionals to respond to these threats and partner with communities to mitigate their unique risks to health and wellbeing across our geographically and culturally diverse state.