Fire & Climate
Agricultural production in the western United States relies on water supplies from mountain source-water systems that are sensitive to impacts from wildfire and a changing climate. The resultant challenges to water supply forecasting directly impact agricultural producers and irrigation managers who rely on snowmelt and streamflow forecasts for crop selection and irrigation scheduling. To date, much research has focused on source-water system processes and agricultural production separately, but in this short communication we highlight a substantial need for new research connecting these disparate systems to improve forecasting accuracy. We identify key knowledge and data gaps regarding the functioning of source watersheds and their contributions to agricultural water resources with associated uncertainties in the context of wildfire and changing climate. In doing so, we encourage researchers, resource managers, and agricultural producers to consider the interdependency of water supply source and sink relationships through improved observations, monitoring, and modeling to ensure sustainable food production in the western US.