Glance up at the night sky, and you might see the movement of a celestial object belonging to a fleet of earth-observing satellites launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Eighteen earth focused satellites complete their daily orbits around the earth, not to observe and understand the far reaches of space, but to observe and understand our changing planet. Satellite observatories have the distance from Earth to observe the big picture and the technological sophistication to track changes in the biosphere at high spatial and temporal resolutions.
The Southern Arizona Water Resources Association, SAWARA, was an important force in water management for the Tucson region at a key time in its history. Marybeth Carlile, SAWARA’s founding Executive Director, was an important force in shaping SAWARA and extending its influence for the benefit of the region. Carlile passed away this spring, and presenting the story of SAWARA and its accomplishments seems a fitting way to commemorate her passing. The WRRC hosted an event in her honor on October 28, 2014, and the material for this history was assembled for that event.
The Roadmap for Considering Water for Arizona’s Natural Areas contains information on the current scientific understanding of water for natural areas and existing legal considerations for providing water to natural areas, examples of where natural areas are already included in water management decisions, and an overview of available paths forward for including natural areas alongside human uses.
This report summarizes the six principal recommendations for developing a water management program for the Town of Clarkdale, Arizona In addition to the six recommendations, multiple water management options are reviewed, which may be of interest to others concerned about sustainable municipal water management.
Eylon Shamir, Sharon B. Megdal, Carlos Carrillo, Christopher L. Castro, Hsin-I Chang, Karletta Chief, Frank E. Corkhill, Susanna Eden, Konstantine P. Georgakakos, Keith M. Nelson & Jacob Prietto
November 6, 2014
Episodic streamflow events in the Upper Santa Cruz River recharge a shallow alluvial aquifer that is an essential water resource for the surrounding communities. The complex natural variability of the rainfall-driven streamflow events introduces a water resources management challenge for the region. In this study, we assessed the impact of projected climate change on regional water resources management. We analyzed climate change projections of precipitation for the Upper Santa Cruz River from eight dynamically downscaled Global Circulation Models (GCMs).
This scenario planning document explores possible futures of the watershed as informed by ongoing interviews, meetings, and feedback given from the Gila Watershed Partnership and others, along with research of academic and goverment sources. These scenarios will be used in water resources planning and management for the watershed.
Arizona is taking advantage of its open land and ample sunshine to assume
a leadership position in the algae biofuel field, although farming algae can use a
great deal of water. Algae shows great promise as a source for alternative fuels,
as well as other useful products, and commercialization is a high priority for the
U.S. Department of Energy.
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Water-related technologies developed in recent years are improving
efficiency, treatment, utility operations and more. These technological advances
have already had an impact on water use and point toward future innovations....more
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Difficulties in describing the value of water are many. This Arroyo seeks to lay out those difficulties and then examine the concept of water’s value from various perspectives. The price of water is addressed first, as that is the first and most obvious aspect of value people in the United States encounter.
The Using Watershed Assessments to Inform Planning for Rural Watersheds publication provides a process for developing a baseline watershed assessment. In this guide we provide recommendations for engaging with stakeholders to assess natural resource conditions, as well as basic information to collect to create a baseline assessment. Watershed planning is not a simple, quick process. This guide addresses just the first steps of building a watershed assessment– understanding the current conditions and issues facing your watershed.
The Colorado River Basin is just one example, albeit an extremely important one in the West, of a stressed river system. The Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study, released by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in late 2012, documents how growth, climate, economic development, and other factors point to an uncertain picture for communities, rural and urban alike. This policy brief highlights key questions communities should consider as they plan for their water futures.
On April 8, 2014, over 350 people from 49 Arizona communities gathered at the University of Arizona Student Union Memorial Center for the Water Resources Research Center annual conference. Thirty-five speakers from the private and public sectors presented on the gap between water supply and demand, and how to close it. A poster session showcased research and initiatives relating to conference issues and provided an opportunity to celebrate the WRRC’s 50th anniversary... more
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This article provides the results of a study of four approaches to regional water collaboration in the West. Following up on a recommendation from water thought leaders from the Tucson, Arizona area to examine regional frameworks employed elsewhere, the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) investigated the following four entities: the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the San Diego County Water Authority, the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, and Denver Water.
In January 2014, Arizona will begin its first farmland fallowing and forbearance project. Unlike similar fallowing programs in the West, this project does not transfer the water conserved in the agricultural sector to the municipal sector. For the time being, this program seeks to conserve water in the Colorado River system. The saved water will be maintained in Lake Mead, increasing its dwindling levels and helping forestall shortages to water users in the Lower Colorado River Basin. Since 2000, water levels in Lake Mead have fallen by an alarming 100 feet.
In the City of Prescott, the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve, along Granite Creek, is an oasis for wildlife and humans surrounded by development. The city’s wastewater treatment plant and transfer station are located a block to the east, a lumber company and a concrete block manufacturer are located to the south, Highway 89 and some dense subdivisions are to the west. Over the last century, this riparian area has been a sand and gravel mine, a dumpsite, a 4-wheel playground, and a shooting range.
On Saturday, June 1, 2013, water was released from Elephant Butte Reservoir in South Central New Mexico into the Rio Grande. It took more than two days to travel the 80 miles to fields near Las Cruces, as water soaked into the parched riverbed. Waiting for the flow were chile, pecan, cotton and alfalfa growers in Southern New Mexico, Western Texas and Mexico, as well as the city of El Paso, Texas, which depends on the Rio Grande for half its water supply.
The opportunity to hear expert presentations and discussion on the issue of water security attracted approximately 300 people to the WRRC’s annual conference, “Water Security from the Ground Up”. The audience represented more than 40 communities across Arizona.
When the news reports on traces of birth control hormones or pain killers found in water, we do not know what to think. Is there any danger? How will these contaminants affect fish and other wildlife? Should we do something? What should we do? Many water contaminants are the subject of regulations that protect water quality, but many more fall into the category of substances for which we do not know the answer to these basic questions. These include substances that have been called emerging contaminants or contaminants of emerging concern (CECs).
In November 2012, five people were elected for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District. The CAWCD and its board members may not be well known to the general public, but they play an important role in Arizona water policy. The CAWCD manages, operates, and directs policy for the Central Arizona Project (CAP), the supplier of approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of water for Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties. This water is critical for the people of Central Arizona.
Fungicide in orange juice, Arsenic in apple juice, Listeria in cantaloupe--these are the latest “food safety issues you care about” listed at foodandwaterwatch.org. But how important are these issues? The public can see Food and Drug Administration reports on all three by going to the FDA website. An outbreak of Listeria associated with contaminated cantaloupe caused 30 deaths in 2011, and concern continued in 2012 with an additional death and recalls of potentially contaminated fruit. Washing the fruit before cutting it might have lowered the death toll.
Arizona Environmental Water Needs (AzEWN) Methodology Guidebook: Determining the best methods or quantifying environmental flow needs depends on what is to be studied as well as how the information will be used. This guidebook will provide a description of the methodologies used in Arizona to define the environment’s need for water. Depending on the geographic context, the time and effort available, and whether the goal is restoration or maintenance of an ecosystem, some methods will be more appropriate for a given application than others.
During my fi rst-ever sabbatical this spring 2012, I traveled to four continents as part of my project on comparative policy analysis. I participated in the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, shared lessons learned with Australian, Israeli and other water researchers and professionals, and heard views on good groundwater governance practices in Latin America and South America as a member of the team working with the Global Groundwater Governance Project (www.groundwatergovernance.org).
Arizona Environmental Water Needs Assessment (AzEWNA) Report: Considering environmental water needs alongside human demands is an emerging paradigm in water policy. The science of environmental water needs (or e‐flows) is ever growing and evolving. And yet, no compendium of efforts to define e‐flows in Arizona had been compiled,until now. This Assessment Report describes the geographic location and focus of nearly 100 studies of environmental water needs in Arizona, using all relevant sources.