Water is everyone’s business and the business of water affects everyone. On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, The Business of Water will be front and center at the University of Arizona (UA) Water Resources Research Center’s Annual Conference, which will be held at the University of Arizona Student Union in Tucson, Arizona.
WRRC Releases 2014 Arroyo: What is the Value of Water in Arizona?
The UA Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) recently released its newly redesigned 2014 Arroyo on a vital topic in Arizona: What is the Value of Water? This year's Arroyo -- a free, 16-page annual publication devoted to a single water topic of timely interest in Arizona -- is a wide-ranging review of the surprisingly complex subject of water's value, beyond its price.
Beginning with a description of what is included in the price of consumers' water, the 2014 Arroyo also surveys the costs incurred by agricultural and industrial users. These can be very different depending on factors like location and the source of the water. Does this difference make the value of water different for different users, or does the idea of value include factors other than costs and price? Legal and institutional systems are major influences on the amount paid to obtain water, as shown by the policies of large water suppliers in establishing charges.
For some, value can be measured when water is bought and sold in a market -- the price the buyer and seller agree on represents the value. But this transaction often does not reflect effects on third parties, such as the effect on a rural community when a farmer sells water to a city, and usually neglects effects on the environment. These effects, both negative and positive, can be evaluated and considered in the value of water by using a number of economic techniques. Studies using these techniques have shown that water and related environments increase the price of real estate, generate economic activity and increase the well being of individuals, as measured by their expressed willingness to pay. Economic activity adds value to water by converting it into products and services -- a concept called virtual water, which is the water needed to provide a product or service. Virtual water allows the water bought and sold when products and services are traded in markets to be traced. Most of the water people use people is virtual.
Does all of this determine the value of water, or is there more? The 2014 Arroyo examines not only economic assessments, but also spiritual and cultural evaluations, using examples from the heritage and traditions of Native Southwestern Tribes and Hispanic communities of New Mexico. In the end, this year's Arroyo does not provide a definition of water's value, but instead calls on readers to appreciate its complexity. Every effort has been made to present the issues in determining the value of water as objectively as possible, leaving it up to the reader to answer the question, "What is the value of water?"
Arizona Project WET (APW) collaborated with Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) to immerse 20 teachers from across Arizona in the first Underwater Robotics and Engineering Design Academy sponsored by Arizona Department of Water Resources.
The WRRC's 2016 Annual Report has been released and posted to the WRRC website. The report contains information on the accomplishments of WRRC personnel and programs and highlights activities that have moved us toward achieving our strategic goals. Included with the report are appendixes containing supplemental details and an accounting of metrics linking reported activities to the WRRC strategic plan. A matrix in Appendix A shows how the WRRC connects with a large community of partners to carry out its mission.
Photo: Greg Griffin - Oak Creek Canyon, AZ
Field opportunities ignite a passion for science and the environment. This was the case for Pusch Ridge Academy highschool student, Rachel Nehrmeyer. Armed with Arizona Project WET (APW) equipment and lessons, Rachel performed biological and chemical sampling of Tucson waterways for the past two years to assess the health of the system. Her work received two awards at the recent Southern AZ Regional Science & Engineering Fair and a third award at the AZ Science & Engineering Fair. Speaking of her field investigation, Rachel said, "Water testing was a good experience.
ThinkWater recently announced the selection of 10 leaders in water education, outreach, and extension to be ThinkWater Fellows for 2017-18. Dr. Grant Weinkam, Research Analyst, University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center, was among the list of new fellows selected from the many outstanding applications from candidates across the country. As a member of the new ThinkWater fellowship Weinkam will interact with others engaged with water-related issues and learn a proven method for teaching the universal rules underlying systems thinking suitable for all ages and populations. Drs.
The deadline is approaching to apply for the WRRC summer internship—an internship designed for students interested in gaining experience writing about environmental and water issues. The selected intern will contribute to research and writing for an issue of Arroyo, the annual WRRC publication that focuses on a critical Arizona water issue. This year's topic is Arizona’s irrigated agriculture. It will look at the many issues of associate with agricultural water use, water rights, efficiency and conservation, and participation in solving water supply challenges.