News - Summer 2012 Newsletter

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Tucson Showcases Its Water Leadership to a National Audience

October 15-17, Tucson water leaders will make their way to Cincinnati for the 3rd annual Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Conference. The meeting brings together urban leaders steering their cities away from gray toward green infrastructure to accelerate the pace of resource recovery in the name of urban sustainability. The Leadership Conference organizers want to inspire greater integration of policies among water, land use, parks, forests, transportation, energy, agriculture, and other sectors. They see integrated, multi-benefit projects that produce triple bottomline results as the pathway to revitalizing cities.

Tucson will be among the five U.S. cities - Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City, Syracuse, and Tucson - that will showcase their innovations and collaborations at the Leadership Conference. The Spotlight on Tucson/Pima County panel will feature Jackson Jenkins, Director, Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department; Ed Curley, Senior Program Manager, Pima County.

Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department; Claire Zucker, Sustainable Environment Program Director, Pima Association of Governments; Shane Snyder, Ph.D., Professor, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, and Co-Director, Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants (ALEC); Alan Forrest, P.E., Director, City of Tucson Water Department; and Paul Green, Executive Director, Tucson Audubon Society. The Leadership Conference is organized annually by the Clean Water America Alliance’s Urban Water Sustainability Council. It is being co-hosted in 2012 by CONFLUENCE Water and Technology Cluster of Greater Cincinnati.

2012 CAP Announces Awards for Water Research

Central Arizona Project (CAP) has announced the winners of its 2012 CAP Award for Water Research. The Award recognizes excellence in graduate or undergraduate student research addressing water issues facing the lower Colorado River basin states (Arizona, California and Nevada). The 1st Place Award winner is Matthew Stroud, a graduate researcher in Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona, for his research paper titled “Solar Desalination in The Southwest United States.” Mr. Stroud will receive $1,000 from CAP. The 2nd Place Award winner is Elizabeth Martin, a Ph.D. student in Water Resources Engineering at Arizona State University, for her paper “Value Intensity of Water Used for Electrical Generation in the Western U. S.; An Application of Embedded Resource Accounting.” Ms. Martin will receive $500 from CAP.
Award recipients will be recognized during a special luncheon at the Arizona Hydrological Society Annual Symposium and will present their research during regular conference sessions. The winning papers will be published in the conference proceedings and on the CAP web site (

New Conservation Tool from Pacific Institute

The Pacific Institute’s Water-Energy-Climate Calculator (WECalc): A Tool for Greater Efficiency estimates water and energy use based on response to questions about personal home water use habits. The tool is accessible and the questions are specific. The connections between energy and water use are clearest to homeowners when it affects what they pay. A nonhomeowner may struggle to answer all of the questions. The tool provides default answers for the average users when they are unsure about their answers. We want to know how much it costs us and how much can we save. WECalc offers individuals a personalized estimate of water and energy use (how much is being used at home for various home appliances) and recommendations for reducing use. The delivery and treatment of water for home use requires energy that is often overlooked. This tool emphasizes the fact that reducing water use reduces energy use and the emission of greenhouse gases.  Its potential for changing behavior lies in its emphasis on these connections.

The WRRC’s 2013 Annual Conference Takes on Groundwater Security

For its 2013 Annual Conference on March 5, 2013, the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona is collaborating with the United States Geological Survey, Arizona Water Science Center, to tackle the large and complex subject of groundwater security. The conference, “Water Security from the Ground Up”, will examine water security from multiple angles. It will present perspectives from scientists and water policy and management experts on sustainable use, augmentation and protection of groundwater resources from over-exploitation, contamination and other hazards, including drought and climate variability. Speakers will discuss issues of groundwater policy and the role sound governance plays in safeguarding human values and ecosystem functions that depend on groundwater. Experts will inform us on current trends and strategies for securing the supplies to support our quality of life now and in the future.
Please join us as we explore the path to groundwater security.

Federal Agencies Develop Resource Guide to Assist Rural Communities

The US Department of Agriculture, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency have recently published a resource guide, Federal Resources for Sustainable Rural Communities, as a collaborative effort to support rural communities in “their efforts to promote economic competitiveness, protect healthy environments modernize infrastructure and provide services to residents.” Since June 2009, the agencies involved have been working together as the Partnership for Sustainable Communities to provide support to communities nationwide. This resource provides rural communities with information on federal funding sources and technical assistance opportunities available through these agencies.

The online publication outlines federal programs available to rural communities, and provides case studies of communities that have successfully made use of these programs in order to enhance their quality of life and economic vitality. The guide is organized by each participating federal agency, as well as broad topics such as community planning and economic development, housing, transportation, water infrastructure and water quality, energy efficiency, and agriculture and food. Aware that it is not exhaustive, the Partnership continuine to update the list of 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.

Critical Aquifers under Pressure from Over Exploitation

In an article published in the August 8 issue of Nature, researchers at McGill University in Montreal and Utrecht University in the Netherlands reported on the results of a study into Global groundwater stress. The results indicate the world would need 3.5 times more aquifer capacity to sustain projected demand. Although 80 percent of the world’s aquifers do not show stress, aquifers in Mexico, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India and China are being heavily over-exploited. Using combined groundwater use data and groundwater supply models they analyzed trends in groundwater storage across the globe. They included in their analysis the rate of aquifer replenishment and for possibly the first time in such a study, accounted for the water flows required to sustain ecosystems. The researched applied their analysis to approximately 800 aquifers. (See map at http://www.