December 11, 2020
BOR Article Series, Part 2: Lower Santa Cruz River Basin Study
The following is part two of a four-part article series from our valued colleagues at the US Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation). The series will cover the three Basin Studies currently underway in Arizona. John Rasmussen, Eve Halper, and Valerie Swick, Water Resource Planners at Reclamation, authored the series. Part three will be published in the December 18 issue of the Weekly Wave.
The Lower Santa Cruz River Basin Study (Basin Study) was proposed by the Southern Arizona Water Users Association and was initiated by the US Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) in 2016. Other cost-share partners include Pima Association of Governments, Cortaro-Marana Irrigation District, Central Arizona Project (CAP), Arizona Department of Water Resources and UArizona. The study area is identical to the Tucson Active Management Area (TAMA), which covers 3,866 square miles in Southern Arizona. Municipal use comprises the greatest portion of water demand in the TAMA, followed by agriculture. The remaining industrial demand is primarily due to mining.
For over 60 years, cities, farms, and businesses in the Tucson area relied on groundwater, with pumping greatly exceeding replenishment. In 1993, the Central Arizona Project began delivering Colorado River water to the Tucson area, but there are still local supply-demand imbalances due to lack of delivery infrastructure and recharge capacity. This Basin Study is working to identify where physical water supplies are needed to mitigate these imbalances and is developing strategies to improve reliability for the municipal, industrial, and agricultural sectors. The Study partners also requested an evaluation of the impacts to the environment, focusing on the local riparian areas that provide important ecological and recreational benefits. Adaptation strategies will address environmental needs as well as those of other water sectors.
The Study partners requested a hydrologic analysis that would consider the variability and seasonality of precipitation in Southeastern Arizona, including the monsoon rains. To this end, Reclamation scientists worked with Dr. Chris Castro and Dr. Hsin-I Chang of the UArizona Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences Department to utilize a “dynamically downscaled” climate projection. The projection relies on a “model within a model” approach to simulate atmospheric processes at a scale appropriate to monsoon rainfall. Reclamation staff also used advanced methods to reproduce the natural variability of local precipitation for Basin Study’s surface water modeling. The climate, surface water, and groundwater modeling is now complete and the process of developing adaptation strategies has begun. The Study is expected to be completed in September 2021. You can learn more about this Basin Study at https://www.usbr.gov/lc/phoenix/programs/lscrbasin/LSCRBStudy.html, or contact Eve Halper at email@example.com.
January 22, 2021
The County with the Greatest Need for Groundwater Education & Conservation
January 22, 2021
Summary of Isotope Research on Sources of Perennial Flow in the San Pedro River
January 15, 2021
Saving Groundwater at Schools
Gasps of excitement and broad smiles are common when students explore the groundwater system using APW’s 3D student models. APW is very excited and eager to expand this success through a multiyear grant from Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), which provides funding to educate West Valley students on Arizona’s groundwater conditions.
December 18, 2020
Reclamation Article Series, Part 3: Eloy and Maricopa-Stanfield Basin Study
The Eloy and Maricopa-Stanfield Basin Study (Basin Study) is a collaboration between the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Pinal Partnership.
December 11, 2020
Re-Imagining the Possibilities – AGU2020
Since 2017, Betsy Wilkening of APW has attended the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting to present the achievements of the Recharge the Rain (RtR) project, a NOAA-sponsored Environmental Literacy Program in partnership with Watershed Management Group. It is only appropriate, at the close of this very odd year, that APW’s presentation is about Re-Imagining the Possibilities. All of us are starting to realize that these possibilities translate into new opportunities for education, communication, and connection.