Student Spotlight: Jacob Prietto

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Jacob Prietto is a second year Masters student with the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona. He has a BS in Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources from the same department. This fall he will be working at the WRRC as a Graduate Outreach Assistant on a project that will bring together stakeholders and modelers to develop a modeling framework for water resource planning and management in the face of climate uncertainty. Jacob will assist with stakeholder engagement. The project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Between completing his undergraduate studies and returning for his MS, Jacob began his career in Tucson as a professional hydrologist with a civil engineering consulting firm. For four years, he conducted floodplain mapping, stormwater mitigation, and drainage infrastructure design, working with a diverse array of professionals in the private and public sectors.

Jacob joined Arizona Project WET (APW) in 2010, as a water education facilitator. Since then, he has been communicating with a vast collection of teachers and students about water. Under the supervision of Kerry Schwartz, APW Director, Jacob has worked with classes from grade school to high school, covering topics such as water conservation, watershed management, groundwater, and water resources allocations. During the past academic year, he assisted a class at Miles Middle School to perform a water audit, using the School Water Audit Program (SWAP) platform. Students were supported as they quantified the current water usages from all the water faucets on their campus. After installation of new, more efficient, faucet aerators provided by APW, the students calculated the new water usage and annual savings created by their efforts.

Through APW, Jacob has also worked as an Earth Camp Instructor the last two summers. Earth Camp is a partnership between the University of Arizona College of Science, Arizona Project WET, the Planetary Science Institute, and the Arizona- Sonora Desert Museum. As an instructor for both the middle school and high school camps, Jacob is known by the students as the water-guy, implementing APW activities, demonstrating hydrologic field work measurements, and leading conversations about water resources.

This year, Jacob was recruited by the Pima County Regional Flood Control District (PCRFCD) as a Special Staff Assistant. Under the supervision of Evan Canfield, Water Resources Engineer, Jacob is conducting sediment transport analyses of the effluent dominated Santa Cruz River downstream of the Roger Road and Ina Road wastewater treatment facilities. As part of the Pima County Regional Optimization Program (ROMP), the facilities are currently being upgraded and Jacob’s team has been charged the task of characterizing the pre- and post-upgrade hydraulic characteristics of the river.

The research Jacob is conducting for his thesis includes evaluating the influence of quantitative water quality parameters have on stream bed infiltration in an effluent dominated riparian river. He expects to graduate in the spring of 2013.