News - AWR Summer 2013

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Centennial Time Capsule Installed in Roosevelt Dam

On June 19th, 2013, a time capsule to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt Dam was placed in the tunnel area of the dam, where it will remain until it is opened for the structure’s 150th anniversary in 2061. The new time capsule replaces the original version that was installed at the dam in 1961 and opened in the spring of 2011. The capsule is filled with items that were suggested by employees and customers of the Salt River Project (SRP) to best describe how water and power have impacted residents of the Salt River Valley. Items include a digitized Roosevelt Dam Centennial video, paper Salt River Project power and water bills, an aerial photo of metro Phoenix, and an incandescent light bulb. Background information, diagrams and pictures related to the time capsule are currently on display at the Tonto Basin Visitors Center.

Tohono O’odham High School Students Recognized by EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Jacquel Caron Rivers and Arne Joi Saguni Nipales, seniors at Baboquivari High School in Sells, Arizona as winners of the Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award for demonstrating a commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship. Rivers and Nipales’ “Total Solar Strategy for the Tohono O’Odham Nation” is an energy- and cost-efficient project that uses solar oven technology for storing energy and heating traditional adobe homes on the reservation. Rivers and Nipales were picked out of 1,611 student scientists and engineers competing in the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona. The Patrick H. Hurd award funds the winning students and a chaperone to participate in and display the students’ project at EPA’s National Sustainable Design Expo featuring the P3: People, Prosperity, and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability in 2014. Held each spring in Washington, D.C., the National Sustainable Design Expo brings together the P3 students, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and businesses working to create a sustainable future.

USDA Unveils Water Quality Index

Agricultural producers may now determine the quality of water flowing off their fields with a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tool. In April, the USDA released a new online tool to help agricultural producers make important decisions about conservation practices, quality improvements and technology. Producers input information about their farms—such as slope, soil characteristics, pest management, tillage practices and ongoing conservation practices—and the system outputs a number from one to 10, which indicates their water quality. This is a simple and accessible tool to rate the effects of producers’ practices and technologies on their runoff water quality. For more information visit:

Collaborative West Salt River Valley Basin Study Initiated

A new study of the West Salt River Valley Basin will look at regional water supply and demand, taking into account climate change and population growth projections. The West Salt River Valley Basin is located in Maricopa County, Arizona, and includes the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. The study will include the development of strategies to address current and future imbalances in water supply and demand in the basin. A collaboration between the Bureau of Reclamation, the West Valley Central Arizona Project subcontractors, the Central Arizona Project and the Arizona Department of Water Resources, the study matches $860,000 in non-federal funding with $840,000 in federal funding.

EPA Releases Fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment

Results from the EPA’s fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment indicate that $384 billion in improvements are needed by 2030 for the nation’s drinking water infrastructure system to continue providing safe drinking water to 297 million Americans. The report shows that the nation’s water systems have entered a rehabilitation and replacement era in which much of the existing infrastructure has reached or is approaching the end of its useful life. The survey is required under the Safe Drinking Water Act to be conducted every four years. In Arizona, the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) is responsible for collecting the information and submitting it to the EPA. Consistent with all other participating states, Arizona gathered data from a statistical sampling of the state’s approximately 800 water providers. These data showed that Arizona will need $7.44 billion in drinking water infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years. Much of the state’s infrastructure is more than 30 years old, and investments are required to upgrade and repair pipes, treatment plants, storage tanks and water distribution systems. In terms of investment needs, Arizona ranks 16th out of the 36 states that completed a full needs survey. WIFA has more than $100 million available for financing water infrastructure projects. Funding is directed to communities with the greatest need.

Weather Station and Condensate Collection System Installed at WRRC

Weather data are now being generated at the WRRC, just in time for the summer monsoon season. Real-time temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and humidity readouts are available. As part of a UA Green Fund mini-grant, the weather station has been installed along with an online weather tool so anyone can access the data over time. The WRRC weather data can be accessed at

The Green Fund project, "An Untapped Resource: Condensate Collection for Water Sustainability on the University of Arizona Campus," was initiated to collect and measure condensate from air conditioning (AC) units at the WRRC. AC units generate gallons of high-quality condensate (water) from out of the air. This water is mostly going down the drain or evaporating, rather than being put to a beneficial use in a region where water is a limited resource. In this pilot project, two AC units will be monitored and the weather station will provide temperature, precipitation and humidity data that will be analyzed for correlations with condensate production. The data generated will be used to quantify potential AC condensate to augment water supplies.